I gave this brief message at my grandfather’s funeral. I reflect on it and need it often. I hope it is an encouragement to you.
These are hard times, only made harder by the passing of such a well-loved man like Gramps. It is very hard to realize that he is gone. What hope could we have that even death couldn’t take away?
Gramps had a faith that gave him hope for eternity. A faith he wanted shared so that we all could join in that hope.
Looking at the Bible, Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthian church, he says these profound words of hope to the suffering: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” (2 Corinthians 4:17) Paul is not minimizing our suffering by calling it light and momentary. He is saying that compared to the substance, weight, and permanence of what is coming, it is light and momentary. He is saying there is something much more permanent than what we see, feel, taste, and touch. Something greater than death. What is greater than death? In the end, everyone succumbs to death.
But Jesus…. Jesus is alive. Friends, this is real hope, a great hope, that Jesus is alive, and He finished what we could not and bought for us a hope, a salvation that we never could hope to earn. Jesus’ death and resurrection was the single greatest act in all history and the biggest display of God’s kindness towards us. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) While Jesus was on earth, He lived a perfect life, morally and spiritually, before God, a life we all fail to live. And yet, He died a brutal death—a death He did not deserve, but a death that you and I deserve because of our sinful hearts. He was perfect while we are imperfect. He is good, while we are evil. Jesus suffered at the cross to end evil without putting an end to us all, and to give us eternal life in Himself. And we receive this hope and are saved by this hope by faith in Him alone “not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Jesus lived the perfect life to earn God’s favor so that we can come to God not trying to earn His favor. In Christ Jesus, there is nothing we can do to make God love you more, nor is there anything we can do to make Him love us less. In Christ, we can be honest with our sin and struggles and know He is for us even when we fail. Let us trust in Jesus, put our hope in Him and what He has done for us on our behalf.
Every other hope in this life is temporary and transient. Let us “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV) Trust that Jesus made the way and that He conquered death and its sting for us. But if we make our own way in this life, trust in ourselves, then death will conquer us. At the end of our lives, we turn over everything received in this life. We need a hope in something that death can’t take away from us. Trust in the one who conquered death and receive a new life now and in the eternity to come. Let our longing hearts say these precious words to the Lord in our hearts: Lord, “Turn my eyes from looking (and hoping) in worthless things; and give me life in Your ways.” (Psalm 119:37)