Sad but Hopeful

Dad at the driving range outside Istanbul - June 2012
Dad at driving range outside Istanbul – June 2012

Tomorrow would have been my dad’s 58th birthday. It has been just over seven months now since he passed away, and I sure do miss him dearly. My heart aches to watch him play with my kids, to sit down and watch March Madness with him, to go on a bike ride together, to hit some golf balls (not play a round of golf because he’d WHOOP me), to play some one-on-one hoops (because I’d WHOOP him), or just to talk with him.

If I could choose anyone in the world to teach my kids the fundamentals of basketball, it would be my dad. If I could choose anyone in the world to take to a Minnesota Twins game this summer, it would be my dad. If I could choose anyone in the world with whom I could do a March Madness bracket, it would be my dad. I could go on and on. My dad, though, isn’t here anymore. This is sad for me, but I’m hopeful because this is good for him.

My dad with his three grandsons at the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul - May 2012
My dad with his three grandsons at the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul – May 2012

You see, a few years ago my dad gave his life to Jesus Christ, so He is now in paradise with the Lord and no longer facing the suffering, tragedy and loss that this life offers. Sin and death are no more for my dad.

I can’t help but think how fitting it is that my dad’s birthday is the same time of year that we celebrate Easter. Resurrection life is why we, as born-again Christians, have hope. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection from the dead are why we can endure the heartache that comes on this side of eternity.

When we remember my dad during times like these, we are sad. We loved him. We miss him. But, we are hopeful. We look forward to the day when sadness is no more, when heartache does not exist, when “I miss him!” isn’t ever heard, and when resurrection life is realized.

Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look – I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18).

If you want to know more about resurrection life and how to have eternal hope and peace, please read The Story.

What Happens in the End?

In preaching a friend’s memorial service recently, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of sadness, not for my friend but for the many people who fail to consider what happens in the end. Really, “the end” of this short life is the beginning. It marks the beginning of eternity – an eternity for which many people are unprepared. What about you?

Your response might be, “I live for today and need not worry about the future.” That’s good, but are you prepared? Are you focused? Are you ready for what happens in the end? Most people are afraid of death and thus afraid to truly contemplate an eternally important question – “What happens next?”

The truth is – death is a reality for all of us. That’s bad news. Scary news, unless there is an answer. Jesus Christ said, “I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death – ever!” (John 8:51). When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, even though your physical bodies will see death, your eternal bodies and souls will see perfect life. This will be life everlasting with the God of the universe. I plead with you – be ready by calling on Him.

eternal life in Christ alone