“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)
He knows what you’re going through. He is a “man of sorrows, aquainted with bitterest grief.” (Is. 53:3, NLT)
His good friend Mary felt betrayed by him at the prospect of death separating her from her brother and …
“When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. … Then Jesus wept.” (John 11:33,35, NLT)
He is indignant and deeply troubled by what sin, sickness and death do to people. He willingly enters into our suffering.
Facing his own suffering and death, he said:
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from what lies ahead’? But that is the very reason why I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought it glory, and I will do it again.”” (John 12:27-28, NLT)
God said He had already been glorified by Jesus’ life, and that He would be glorified by His suffering and death. He’ll be with you and He’ll be glorified in this.
““I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. …” (John 14:27-28, NLT)
Does it feel like he’s far away? Don’t worry. He’s working something out and His presence will envelope you at precisely the right moment.
When my friend Karen Bernotas was facing late stage ovarian cancer, and it was clear that our worst fears would be realized, I didn’t know what to say anymore. I searched the Scriptures and found this passage from the Apostle Paul:
“After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having put down all enemies of every kind. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (I Cor. 15:24-26)
God views death as His enemy. It’s not just a natural part of the life cycle. It’s His enemy, and such an enemy that it will be the last one destroyed. Like at the end of a movie or a fairy tale, and the arch villian is utterly wiped out, making life safe again.
God hates his enemy death. He stamps it out and …
“Then, when he has conquered all things, the Son will present himself to God, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.” (1 Corinthians 15:28, NLT)
Karen and her family were cared for by another friend from our circle, Jean Peterson. A year or so later, Jean and her husband Don died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They were on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. Amongst the wreckage, Don’s Bible was found. It was reportedly open to this passage in 1 Corinthians 15.
Somehow it helps to know that death is God’s enemy too (and that we’ll be resurrected with Christ, v. 20-23). Maybe one day, it will all make sense, or maybe it won’t and it just won’t matter anymore.
In this life you WILL have trials and sorrow, but take heart, for HE HAS overcome the world.
Praying for you, Charity.
Update 2/18/08: And you Judy.