The recent passing of my father-in-law brings home forcefully the need for hope. So much is encompassed in the death of a parent. There is the obvious—I will not see Roy again in this life. No more walking his land with him and looking at his flowers, no more rousing games of Hearts, no more going to Cottage Inn for pizza. Going to Michigan will never again be like it has been for the past 30+ years. This is a significant shift, a change characterized by loss.
But there is more. There is the unavoidable reality that time is moving, that generations are passing, and that mine is next. That’s sobering. My generation was, for a while, the one having babies. We were making our parents grandparents, our siblings were becoming uncles and aunts. But that season is passing—I am stepping forward into the next role. The babies are now adults and the grandparents are passing. That foundation of having parents to talk with is slipping away.
This loss and inexorable movement of time confronts me with my frailty and mortality. That youthful sense of timeless invincibility has waned. The big issues of life and death loom large. The need for hope is thrown into bold relief.
Thank you, Jesus! How fitting that my father-in-law’s death should be shortly followed by Easter. Therein lies hope, real hope. Death is not the end, the grave does not win, and separation of Christians is not final. Jesus has conquered death and draws us up into His victory!
If ever we needed the Gospel it is now. The Gospel—Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). By His wounds we are healed—healed from the truly deadly sin which plagues us, delivered from the eternal wrath of God so justly deserved. By His resurrection we are raised and will be raised to new life—life over which the second death has no hold. Because of Jesus all who belong to Him by faith will be reunited to be with the Lord forever.
How we must believe that good news, how we must cling to this good news that God Himself has given. Voices there are today which distort that news into something else, which is always something less. Reinterpretations of that gospel into an agenda for social change. Dilutions of that gospel into a plan for self enhancement. Diminutions of the Jesus of that good news from Lord and Savior into merely a teacher or moral example. Dethronement of the God of that good news from the just Judge of eternity to a kindly grandfather of all.
The Good News—Christ died for sins once for all to bring you to God, He was put to death but made alive (1 Peter 3:18)—gives us hope. It gives us the confident expectation that we will not face God’s wrath for our sin, the confident expectation that we will see believing loved ones again.
The news is good. Hold fast to it.