Memories and Hope

As I write this, it has been about 24 hours since my mother passed from this life and went home to be with the Lord.  Not long after she passed, I had also learned the News that my grandmother had passed as well.  But as difficult a season as this has been, the Lord has been gracious to provide peace and work out His eternal purposes in the midst of such loss.

I got to thinking about what I’ve done with the time God has given me.  My senior pastor has wisely remarked that between the day of our birth and the day of our death is a “dash”.  Do I use my time wisely?  Do I intercede for those who need prayer or do I merely claim to pray?  How do I use my mind?  What do I think about?  How do I use my resources?  Do I really trust the Lord or do I doubt Him?  Questions like these have served to provide a fresh reminder to me that our time is limited and precious.  But they also prompt me to ask what foundational truths we should live by.  The Bible teaches that there are many but we’ll look at two of them here.

One such truth is that the Bible is God’s very word to us.  In the market place of ideas, there is no end to the varied and different opinions about morality, ethics, spirituality and the like.  But whose opinion really counts in topics like these?  The authors of the Bible declared that they were speaking on God’s behalf.  God authenticated their messages and ministries through supernatural acts and prophetic fulfillment.  In Jesus’ case, His resurrection from the dead authenticated His claims in a way never seen before.  Knowing that there are objective reasons to believe the authority and claims of the Bible provides the impetus for obeying it.

Psalm 119 speaks of the value of God’s word.  For example, we discover that God’s word was like a “lamp to [his] feet and a light for [his] path” (Ps. 119:105, NIV).  As with us even today, a light is necessary if we are to see where we are going in the darkness.  God’s word is likened to a “lamp” that lights our way spiritually, morally, relationally and otherwise.  Elsewhere, the writer asks, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your  word” (vs. 9).  We are told also that we can avoid the supremacy of sin in our lives by “hiding” God’s word in our hearts (vs. 11).

In Psalm 19, God’s word is called “perfect, trustworthy, right and radiant” (vs. 7-8).  Jesus asked the Father that He might “sanctify” His disciples (and us) by His “word” (vs. 17).  Clearly, then, we would do well to follow God’s instructions and commands.

A second truth is our faith in Christ.  If there is one defining characteristic of how we relate to God, it is by faith.  Faith isn’t anything mysterious but is simply a trust in God.  It is the act of taking God at His word and believing – sometimes despite difficult circumstances – that He will accomplish His purposes in us and through us.

Paul wrote that “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).  Because of this, we should “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (vs. 17).  What do we fix our focus on?  Jesus (See Heb. 3:1, 11:1, 12:2, Col. 3:1-2).  Focusing on Jesus, practically speaking, means that His goals, plans and purposes take center stage in our lives.

When our life’s paths meander through shadows of uncertainty, we have a bright ray of hope to light our way.  My hope is anchored in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  History demonstrates strongly that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection from the dead.  His victory over death provides us with a hope that is unshakable.  But that is just the start:  He desires to live through us each day and accomplish His will around us!

While my mother’s passing is a bitter pill to swallow, it is also a sweet one.  She is now rejoicing with her Lord and will do so for all of eternity.  I think that if she were asked if she would want to come back to earth, I believe she would decline.  And while I will cherish memories of her, I also rest on a hope of being reunited with her one day and, more importantly, of seeing the Lord face-to-face myself.  After all, what better place could we go to than to be with the Lord in His unbridled glory!

Allen can be reached at [email protected].

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