Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

God's Promise to Be Together Again

If not for the belief that one day we'll be reunited in Heaven one day, I doubt I'd have been able to go on after Amanda was killed. I'm certain I'd never have been able to function at the level I have, a level that leads many to tell me how strong I am. Personally, I don't consider myself strong. I just keep going.

Though I've always believed I'll see Amanda when it's my time to get to Heaven, I've been searching the Bible since she was killed to confirm it. A couple of months ago, I began reading Paul's letters in the New Testament. Today, I finally arrived at the verses that say, in no uncertain terms, that we will be together again.

" 13 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. 14 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. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words."-- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

If you've never experienced the loss of a child, you can't know the depth of the pain. I hope you never have to. I had loved and lost before, but nothing comes even close to the hurt I felt when Amanda died. Before, whenever I tried to comfort friends or family who had lost a son or daughter, I found myself at a loss for words. Now I know why.

There are no words. No words to lessen the pain, no words to bring them back, no words to turn back time, no words to change what happened. It hurts worse than any physical or emotional pain I've ever felt before. I've lost grandparents, cousins, uncles, etc., and the suffering didn't compare. I've been hit, kicked, stomped, crushed, mangled, and bit by people, objects, and various animals. Broken bones and sliced skin resulted in pain that seems no worse than the irritation caused by a mosquito bite beside the pain of losing my daughter. No words from family, friends, pastors, or others can ease that pain. Nothing takes the pain away.

But the hope that we'll be together again, the promise from God that one day I'll pass through the gates of Heaven and Amanda will be waiting doesn't stop the hurting now, but it makes it more bearable...makes it possible to bear. So even though we go on hurting, it's a hurt that we know one day will end and we'll see our loved one again.

Remember, we were never guaranteed a pain-free life, neither Christians nor nonbelievers. But we're promised in God's Word that our suffering will end if we confess our sins and believe that Jesus came to Earth, died, and was resurrected to save us from damnation, to give us eternal life. Pain is of this world, but accepting the free gift of salvation offered by God to us through Jesus Christ, guarantees that once we pass, we'll spend eternity without pain, without suffering.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world"--John 16:33

Though the pain of losing a child is more intense than any other, that pain will end. It will end when our time on Earth is done, when we make the trip to join our loved ones in Heaven. In verse 17 of the first passage above, we're promised we'll be "together" again with those who preceded us in death...those who died with Jesus in their hearts, those who believed, those who accepted the gift of salvation before they were taken from this life.

People are mistaken when they think I'm strong. I'm not strong at all. All the pain, all the hurt is still here everyday. Amanda is on my mind almost constantly. The instant is rare when she doesn't cross my mind, everyday. It's not strength that keeps me going. It's hope.

It's the hope that the day is coming where I'll see my baby girl again. It's the thought of the day I'll pass through those pearly gates, see her, run to her, and throw my arms around her. It's looking forward to that day when I can again hold her tight and maybe never let go. It's the thought of spending eternity with her and never having to worry about losing her again.

That's what keeps me going. Every day.

It's not that I don't grieve. It's not that I'm not hurting. It's the peace I get from that hope, the hope that comes with accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It's the knowledge that one day the pain will end forever.

If you've lost a child, and you're lost, unsure that you can go on, if you have no idea what's right and what's wrong, if you don't know what to do, where to go, or which way to turn, try Jesus. You can have the same peace, the peace that comes from the promise that one day you and your child will be reunited.

I pray that if you're reading this and you don't know Jesus, if you're lost and hurting, that you'll turn to Jesus. Many turn to alcohol or drugs or other destructive behaviors in a search to end the pain. It never works. While those things dull the pain temporarily, they never offer the hope that it will one day end forever.

Only Jesus offers that. If you've lost a son or daughter, if you're wandering through life lost without direction, try Jesus. God promised us that even this horrible pain will end one day and we'll be rejoined with Amanda in Heaven, if we accept Jesus into our hearts.

You can have that peace. It won't stop you from hurting in this life, but becoming a Christian will stop you from suffering when your time on Earth is over.

That's enough to keep me going. Please, if don't know that peace, follow the directions below and take that step, make the choice that offers peace that passes all understanding, even while enduring the worst of all possible pains in this life.

One day, one glorious day, I'll be with my beautiful daughter again.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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