Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lost A Christian You Love?

How did it happen that they went away?

Costly in the sight of the Lord… —Psalm 16:15

Christian, have you ever lost a loved one, a friend who is a believer, a close family member …or maybe more than one? Please know that our gracious heavenly Father shares in your sorrow. I feel so sorry for people in pain.

Billy Graham once said: "Our confidence in the future is based firmly on the fact of what God has done for us in Christ. Because Christ is alive we need never despair, no matter what our situation may be; ‘Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him... For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord' (See Romans 6:8, 23)."

From Him, who loves me and my brothers so well, what power our souls can long sever? Shall life or death, or earth or hell? No—we are His and in Him forever.

We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord. —1 Thessalonians 4:17

Do you feel like talking about your particular type of grieving? Maybe it wasn’t something bad at all, but someone you know got a job promotion or a transfer and moved away. Then again, perhaps you’ve lost a Christian friend …that’s still living. Did someone close to you backslide or just wander off?

Man, I hate that about life on this planet. How painful, but prodigals can still return. I have seen em and I have been one.

Yup, I've experienced loss before in different ways …sometimes more than once. You see, my wife, Liney and I have had the privilege of raising teenage boys—rascals, who have each respectively, had their plan. Some felt they should be "the head of our household" on occasion. You say, No, that could never happen. Oh yes, and they wouldn't mind me telling you this! One of them, who didn't get what he wanted, ran away from home two times before he reached adulthood and a new life as a soldier in Iraq. He ran from a little hammer so to speak, to a bigger hammer. Looking back, he can now chuckle about it. And in the military, they don't always give him what he wants either, but he's growing up.

I also remember wanting to be in charge at that age ..and sometimes earlier—"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Cor. 13:11).

Maybe you've experienced something like that before even with your grown-up kids. Whatever, God knows what that's all about. And what flawed Christian parent doesn't experience such trials at one point or another? Sometimes decent pastors and employers experience something akin to that… as well as loss.

I believe that parents must believe right, live right, love right, remain in agreement, try to understand and win in all domestic power struggles …and I'm not talking about power struggles with God or each other. Because of course, we are called to represent and properly submit to God's authority …and to each other in the Lord. And the husband has most of the responsibility in the home. He must humbly lead with God's strength, and first he must listen and follow …Christ! Christian parent, to firmly hold on to what you know is biblical, loving and right …might cost you. It might introduce you to a pain you've never experienced before. But it's worth it to stay uncompromisingly focused on Jesus! He can help you through the valley of the shadow of death and every other valley.

I have a few friends that have lost loved ones through death lately and now, as you can well imagine, they find themselves in a very painful grieving process that they never invited …and my heart really goes out to them. God's heart does even more! I don't know their exact pain; I don't understand why it happened, but I wish I had the right words with which to comfort them. God does—fitting passages in the Bible. He understands far more than we can. Christ wants us to, "Comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:18).

The psalmist told God, "Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles" (Ps.119:50), "Great peace have those who love Your law" (Ps. 119:165)…"You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side" (Ps. 71:21). At times it's so understandable for the bereaved to feel angry at the circumstances, at the evil, at…

Hey, please don't be mad at the One who is hurting with you, the One whose fault it is not… the One who deeply cares and stands ready to help you most.

The Bible says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" (Ps. 16:15).

Read More (and some comforting verses at the end)…

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