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Don’t lose heart E-mail
Opinion
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 08:37

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MY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron



In less than a month we’ve been impacted by four funerals. Each memorial service causes those who knew and loved the deceased to reflect on life and after-life. At one service, a pastor read from an Old Testament passage, Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart.” The rest of the verse is that God didn’t want man to find his life or his work tedious. 

For another service, I used 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  

Emotions at a time of loss are genuine and loving, and they are a tribute to the loved one being memorialized. It’s okay to hug, to cry, to feel bewildered. In John chapter 11, Jesus knew – even before he arrived – that Lazarus had passed away. In that same passage comes the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” The Jews equated his tears with how much he must have loved Lazarus. But perhaps it was because of the family, and the grief he knew the sisters were bearing. 

Before Jesus left he told his disciples he would be going away, and they asked in essence, “What do you mean, you’re going away?” The answer he spoke 2,000 years ago still brings peace to many who grieve. “‘Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going’” (John 14:1-4).  

Looking at all the suffering – even if we haven’t yet experienced the death of loved ones, most people go through trials of one kind or another – we see a refining quality, something that enables us to better share in others’ problems. Back to the story of Lazarus, Jesus told the messengers bringing word of his illness that it was “‘for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it’” (John 11:4). 

The people whose funerals were held this month have already entered eternity. In fact, their eternal life began the moment they accepted Jesus. Scriptures bring comfort, and I thank God for sharing his life and Word with us. The next verse in the Old Testament passage reads, “I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime” (Ecclesiastes 3:12). 

The Christian belief is that Jesus is preparing a place for believers, and he is also preparing us for a place. Paul wrote of being raised and presented to the Father. “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). 

In times of sadness and loss, do not lose heart.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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