Friday, August 12, 2011

Two things I don't understand

Just this week I attended the funeral of a friend, one who died at a young age leaving her husband and three children.  Now you might think that this is one of the things I don’t understand, but I do.  What I understand is that GOD appoints a time for each of us, we are part of HIS master plan and though we might not understand why GOD does or allows certain things into our life, I understand that GOD is over all.  Whenever a believer dies (this person was a believer) I am reminded of the scriptures we are given concerning what awaits those who “fall asleep” and those scriptures concerning those who will be alive at Christ’s return.  Of being “absent from the body is present with the LORD.”  Of the corruptible putting on incorruption and being transformed.  This brings me to what I don’t understand.

How can a person walk through this life without hope of a life beyond?  How can someone find hope in simply living and then simply not living?  As odd as this may sound, I am encouraged in the midst of sorrow at the death of a believer in Christ.  Psalm 116 tells us that the death of a saint is precious in the sight of the LORD, meaning that GOD values our lives, takes notice of our deaths and Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John that he goes to prepare a place for us.  I find that at funerals that I sorrow not so much for my loss, but for those who have yet to find the hope of eternity.

Please don’t take me wrong; I am not being disrespectful of other beliefs.  I appreciate the fact that others seek GOD through a variety of channels and am (in politically correct terms) tolerant of other beliefs and faiths.  What I am saying is that I have a problem understanding how when offered a future prospect such as Jesus gives, it can be turned down?  I have come to appreciate some of the finer points of other faiths, such as the discipline that often accompanies a person’s faith that can be so absent from mine. But, I still struggle with only having hope in myself or thinking that this is all there is and when I die I return to the dust from whence I came.

This kind of brings me to the next thing I don’t understand.  What do people do when they have no one to turn to beyond humans?  I have been to points of despair varying times in my life and the only thing that has kept me from total despair was my faith in Christ.  Once again the scripture of “…those who have no hope” comes to mind.  What do people do without the hope of GOD loving, caring, supporting, encouraging and intervening when all earthly hope is gone?

As is obvious from this writing, I am un-apologetically Christian in my beliefs.  Scripture and experiences have shaped my worldview.  We have all been shaped by experiences in our lives; some experiences have left us without hope and adrift while others of us may have been left hardened toward the GOD of the Bible, having been given a picture of a judgmental tyrant through the actions and words of others.  Maybe I do understand how people can walk around without the hope I have, but it still weighs on me.

Life can be so discouraging, especially in these days of economic woe, famine and sickness.  It seems like every morning I hear of another situation of despair.  I’m certain that down through the ages each generation had moments of despair.  In just the last century there were many wars, depressions, natural disasters and maniacal people.  Horrendous incidents of death and destruction, During which people thought that surely Jesus would be returning or the end of the world was at hand.  I am someone who looks at world situations and wonders if we are indeed hurdling toward “the end times” but does not get caught up in “hype.”  I instead look at situations in the world and am grateful that I have a hope beyond my sight.

I guess I better understand the scripture that talks about men’s hearts failing them during the last days.  Without hope of a better life beyond, without hope of a loving, heavenly father who will not forsake his children, without the hope of things ultimately getting better, I too would ask that the mountains fall on me.  Maybe I understand more than I think I do and in that understanding compelled to pray for those who are hardened, set adrift; who do not have a blessed hope to cling to.

As always, this is my opinion and along with $2.50 might get you a coffee.  But more importantly, if you don’t have this hope please spend some time contemplating my words.  Talk is cheap, sin is costly but the gift of eternal life is free through Jesus.