Grief, Urgency, Hope…

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here. But tonight, my heart is stirring.

This week a neighbor — a friend — took his own life, leaving those who knew him shocked and grieving. He was the life of the neighborhood. Friendly, giving, always outside talking with the neighbors and hanging out with all our kids. He was loved.

My heart aches deeply for him and for those who knew him. In the midst of it all, I feel a renewed urgency for the gospel to be spread among us. This life is temporary. Death reminds us of that. And we don’t really know if we are at the beginning or end of it with each passing day. Death by suicide though, that reminds us that people are hurting in deep ways, that the great Tempter and Deceiver is alive and well. It affects those who knew that person in deep ways. We are grieving. So, tonight I feel the urgency of the gospel to be spread because tomorrow is not promised us and because we have real hope to share.[1]

If you are a believer in Jesus, this message is for you. If you are not — read on too.

I am often preoccupied with living my life for Jesus, growing in my love and service toward others, in my devotion to Him inwardly and outwardly. But this tragedy, along with a few other recent events, has reminded me that equal with (and really joined with) living for Jesus is telling others about Him. You cannot read the gospel accounts, the epistles, or really the whole Bible without seeing that. Yet I confess I am not always quick to share this good news. I’m not always preoccupied with it.
Let me clarify that this is not a job or an obligation. It’s our mission, our joy, our ministry to share this hope with others. Yet I’ve not given myself fully enough to this cause of spreading the hope and joy of the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It’s more than spreading love. It’s more than service and good works. It’s all intertwined of course, but any person can spread good works because we are all created in the image of a good God. But the revelation of Jesus Christ…there is news to spread about Him, the giver of love and the Lover of all. And we have been commissioned to do it as His disciples.

Brothers and sisters, my urge to you and to myself is to continue to give ourselves more and more to the spreading of this good news of Jesus the son of God, made in the likeness of man, who took on our sin and nailed it to the cross so that we might not be condemned, who was raised from death and conquered death that we might too be raised with Him unto eternal life when He comes again to establish His kingdom and judge the world of all unrighteousness. There is hope of resurrection. There is hope for eternal life. There is hope of a dawn in the midst of a dark world, a dark life, a dark season. Knowing Him, the Resurrection and the Life, allows us to taste of His coming Kingdom now, of His grace and love, healing and hope, and it assures us of greater things to come.

If you don’t know this Jesus, know He loves you and that all your sin and wrongdoing can be forgiven and you can be accepted as a child of God, freed by His gracious and powerful work on the cross. He is a God of mercy and grace, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, true and just in all His ways. I pray you get to know Him and are found in Him, to know His love for you that you may stand among His redeemed at His coming.

Blessings to you, friends. That’s all I have to share tonight, may you be urged as I have to give yourself fully to the ministry and message of Jesus Christ.

[1] Please note, I am not saying Christians will not struggle with deep depression or temptations of suicide. I am saying that in the midst of all struggles and temptations in life, there is a hope and promise to those found in Christ of resurrection, life, freedom. Without that hope, what hope is there? And it is only promised to those who place their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

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