“A loved one’s whisper still lingers in ears that miss and honor the one in whom so much love is celebrated and lamented.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 29, 2023
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. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Douglas Kaine McKelvey, in his beautiful new book, Every Moment Holy, v.2, expresses through prayer what my tender heart is processing this holiday season particularly as I reflect on those I love who have gone on before me into glory to be with God. Here is a brief excerpt,
Lead me, O Lord, through this layered confusion of celebration and lament, of things present, and things past. Let me make of this day a new thing. Though holidays might be hard days, O God, by the movement of your mercies, may they also become holy days, teaching me, again and again, to entrust to you my many griefs as often as these unavoidable days uncover and reveal them.
My wife Rita and I miss, even at times, long, for our moms. I still have four voicemails saved on my phone to hear Momma’s words of concern, care, and comfort. Wow! No words. Nothing in the world like a mother’s love. Yet, she has gone to be with God. My loss and pain, heaven’s gain. Rita mentioned last night, as we were all dressed up to attend a ministry fundraising gala, how her mom would have commented on her festive outfit as being very busy, with bright peacock laced oriental colors, shiny bling, and golden sandals. Rita’s bold, floral attire reflected nicely the East Asian dress of those cared for by the Saving Susan ministry. Yet, a loved one’s whisper still lingers in ears that miss and honor the one in whom so much love is celebrated and lamented.
Paul reminds followers of Jesus Christ that we do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. Because Jesus died and rose again, we are able to grieve differently…with hope, a hope that is alive and will bring those who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ to one day be in the presence of God. Grieving without hope is a life that only exists with morsels of memories to nibble on, feeling despair with no anticipation of being reunited in love with the one they love. Yet, thankfully, those of us who celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, the death of our Savior Jesus, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus can look forward to uniting with God and reuniting with loved ones. Our faith is not in vain; rather, our faith looks forward to eternal life with loved ones.
So, how can you honor your loved ones who are no longer with you during this holiday season? It most certainly includes laughing at funny stories like the comment of Rita’s mom, or it may be a coffee mug with a favorite scripture verse of a loved one that you incorporate with fondness into your daily routine over Thanksgiving and Christmas. That particular scripture stirs deep within you a fresh faith, a desire to trust and obey God, and a deeper love for others. And there is an even deeper place you can go to linger in the light of love from your loved ones so you shine brighter through the glow of God being more pronounced in your words and deeds. Precious moments become more sacred, and you are sobered by the influence you have been given to love your family well. Love them in a way like your loved ones who are with the Lord so that all are drawn closer to the Lord. Cling to Christ, release your loved one to Him, and in the process, you gain both. Death takes away, but God gives back with grace, love, peace, and His hope to come!
“I love you, God— you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout” (Psalm 18:2, MSG).
Heavenly Father, shine brighter through my life because of the glow of those whose love burns in my heart, mind, and soul through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name.
Who in your life who has gone on to be with the Lord has influenced you with a deep love so you can honor them by loving others in the most meaningful ways?
Phil Wickham: Living Hope
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