There’s nothing like loss to make you reflect on what you actually once had. I suffered a personal one recently-the kind you only speak about with close friends and loved ones. Things can be replaced, but people cannot. The pain each of us suffers when we undergo this kind of loss is real, and it’s seldom understood even by those who’ve gone through something similar. Why? Because each of us experiences grief in various ways, over varying amounts of time, and with a variety of experiences along the grieving process.
Perhaps you know exactly what I’m talking about. All of us, at one point or another, experience loss. Maybe you’ve been carrying this type of heartache for years and years. Perhaps your pain is more recent, so the wound is fresh and oh-so-sensitive.
The Lord Jesus was not immune to the sadness and suffering we feel when we lose a family member or friend. Look at these words we find in John 11 when Mary and Martha told Him about the death of their brother, Lazarus:
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (verses 32-36)
Theologians agree that Jesus’ deep feelings of sorrow were directly related to His understanding of the loss experienced because of sickness and death. This wasn’t what His Father had ever intended at Creation! Illness, suffering, and loss were never part of God’s perfect plan for humankind.
You probably know the rest of the story well. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave-a very real picture of the power He has over death’s stranglehold. Yet look at the dialogue He had with Martha just a few verses earlier:
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:23-27)
In other words, Jesus was reminding Martha-and all of us today-that even though we will die physically, we can live spiritually and eternally with the Lord! And He lays out the plan of salvation so simply: believe in Him. Yes, an uncomplicated commitment of faith in Jesus, the One who died to save us from our sins, is all we need. Faith in the Father’s Son who has power over death is it-nothing else is necessary!
What might be lost is found through Jesus’ gift for us. Sure, our earthly bodies will wear out. Eighty, ninety, or maybe one hundred years on Planet Earth is all we can handle-but an eternity awaits us after we take our last breath!
Friends, if you’ve lost a loved one who once made this simple commitment of faith in Jesus, you will find him or her again in Heaven! If you know people now who don’t understand God’s plan for their lives yet, then pray! Share the gift of faith you’ve been given-and step out into each day moving forward with the confidence that Jesus, who came to seek the lost, will reunite us again one day in our future, forever home!
Thought of the Month
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
I Thessalonians 4:13-14