I wonder if you might be scrolling through your social media feeds today and wondering what in the world these people are smoking?
I wonder if you might be going through a divorce, or sitting next to a hospital bed where your wife lay dying, or nauseous from your last chemo treatment, and thinking, “What kind of fantasy are they living with their matching pastels and plastered smiles?”
Can I put my arm around your shoulder and quietly say that I get it? I know how hard it can be to stare into a cropped, filtered, curated sea of apparent perfection when life is kicking your ass.
And can I cup your face in my hands and, with tears streaming down my cheeks, tell you that there is hope? That although matching pastels are well and good, you and I both know life is lived in the trenches, in the mud, in the muck, and can I tell you that
Jesus will meet you there?
That all of the declarations of “He is risen!” on your newsfeed may feel overwhelming, but they are telling the truth–a truth more powerful than you may have ever dreamed?
That divorce and cancer and pain and death are all here because of sin. And that Jesus died and then came back to life (what?!), defeating death and sin and cancer and pain and divorce so that, when we believe in Him, we have an assurance of living for eternity with Him–an eternity that is pain-free, cancer-free, divorce-free, death-free. And that because we have that assurance, we can have hope today. We can have joy in the trenches. We can rejoice even in death. Because, for the believer in Jesus Christ, dear Reader, death has lost its sting.
Jesus, God who became man, has declared victory over death, a victory that no man could win because of our sin. But He will share that victory with you if you believe.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?'”
I can’t promise that it will take away your cancer or heal your pain in this life but Oh, Dear Reader, I can promise that it will bring strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Dear friend, there is hope.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old selfwas crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”