The Hope of Easter
by John, the co-founder of
This is an excerpt of an email sent by me to my brother, after his step son Erik was murdered senselessly while waiting for a tram in Dallas, Texas.
"Funny today in Church I was overcome by something, and had to fight back the tears. You'll be the first to know what I was thinking. I have to confess that when my son started asking me why God lets us die, I could never really provide him with a response that I was completely comfortable with.
But today, I received the conviction of the importance of death as maybe the most important and amazing moment of our lives, and a belief that God lets us die at His appointed time, because he knows it's better than eternal life on Earth in these bodies of ours. The thought was that death is the final test of our faith. And those
of us who believe and who are allowed to approach death with both eyes open, are likely to be blessed with the experience of our lifetimes and one that we would not trade for anything. Why? It is in death that we accompany Christ to the cross, and hear His voice say "it is finished". In death we're brought to the end, to a desperate point that the Lord's disciples all experienced, where we can do nothing but trust in God. The moments approaching death must be scary, dark and to an extent hopeless, just as it must have been when darkness blocked the sun at Christ's death. And those around Jesus, his disciples, and his mother; what a terribly low and hopeless point they must have come to, having seen an innocent man, a
prophet, to Mary a son, who they believed to be God and their Messiah, King of the Jews, brought low by a humiliating and torturous death on a cross. His disciples pinned all their hopes of the future on the Lord Jesus and left all their worldly possessions behind, only to see him crucified? Certainly, after His death, they had their doubts about his being God. The days after Christ's death must have been the epitome of deep depression, soul searching and crying tears of blood! But then, after God brings us to the very lowest point in our lives, we then see what Mary Magdalene saw: Christ, resurrected from the
dead, absolute victor over all doubt, and master over death itself! Just as it is written, "o death where is your victory, o death where is your sting?", our own death, and our being lifted up by Jesus is God's proof to us of His victory and our incredible reward for our years of faith! Without this, we would probably feel cheated out of our greatest moment with God and deprived of a dramatic and joyful introduction to Eternity!
Of course, when we lose someone unexpectedly and unjustly, the above words are less of a comfort, because we have not ourselves seen our loved one's resurrection or salvation from death. We still must have faith that God has done what He said He would do. When we lose someone, we feel the personal loss more than anything else. But Erik, my faith tells me now,
would not choose anything else but what God has given him. Yes, for you, Erik's death is another, maybe the toughest yet, test of your faith. But I believe the death of the loved ones around us will help us later when we deal with our own deaths, knowing they have already made the trip and are waiting on the other side for us."
I hope this can be of a comfort to those who have recently lost a loved one or who are facing death themselves.
In Christ, John