It was a typical day while on vacation, when one phone call changed everything. The wife of a great friend of mine, called to tell me Mike was in the hospital suffering with an aggressive form of cancer, and was being moved to hospice- two days later, Mike passed. It felt as though I had been hit in the chest by a sledgehammer - I felt empty and began searching for something to hold on to that would enable me to grasp the situation. Immediately, I thought of the disciples the night Jesus was crucified. I imagined what it must have been like for them after all the dust had settled, and they were safely huddled in one place, trying to absorb what they had just witnessed. How do you put something like that into words? Thoughts of what they would do now that Jesus was gone, must have dominated their thinking and conversation. He had told them a lot about this night- but now, it is all just a blur. He was their teacher, their protector. They followed him day and night for three years, going where he led them, eating what he ate. The conversations he had with them. The special moments, as they listened to him talk to others- especially the religious leaders. They lost more than a teacher; they lost a great friend. Sure, he said he would return, but what if he didn’t. Fast forward and imagine how they felt the day Jesus appeared among them. Imagine the joy and jubilation in their hearts as once again their friend and teacher was among them. After this, I began to reflect on the words of the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth in chapter 15, as he explains to them the resurrection. It’s there in the resurrection where the power of God overcomes death. It’s there that makes all the difference. It’s there what was broken is fixed. Even though we hurt today, as Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “Don’t grieve like others who are without hope.” Did you catch it? There is more. That’s just the end of a chapter, not the end of the book. As we turn the page, we read of this great reunion of those who have washed their robes in the blood of the lamb, in that place where there will be no pain, no crying, no mourning, no sickness, none of those things. I’m confident one day we will see those who have died in Christ. That’s the point. God has fixed it all. For now it’s just a short separation, followed by a reunion that will last throughout eternity. Father we thank you for loving us so completely to forgive our sins against you. We thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of his resurrection that will one day raise us! We praise you and thank you for this wonderful grace. So therefore, let us continue to march on, until victory is won!
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