The word came to us last weekend. A good friend, 47-years-old, died of cancer. My wife, Tina, had worked closely with Brenda to start a weekday preschool program in our church in Indiana. Brenda had become director when we moved. We visited the church last June, and Brenda gave Tina a tour of the new preschool facilities. They were both so excited.
Two weeks later we received a call requesting prayer. They weren’t certain it was cancer, but they were afraid that it was. Just seven months later she’s gone.
Some would say that the only things left behind are memories and a legacy. If that were the case, we can say lots of great things about Brenda. But in reality that would be the greatest tragedy of all. Is this world all that there is? Do you simply live and die, and that’s it?
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "If in this life only we have hope we are to be pitied more than all…" In the rest of 1 Corinthians 15 he makes his strongest argument for the resurrection.
Later this month Christians will celebrate Easter. Have we forgotten its true meaning? Easter is not simply a festive time to wear new clothes and gather with family. It’s not even a time simply to go to church. It is on Easter Sunday that we declare most loudly that Jesus died on the cross, but that was not the end of the story. He is alive! He was raised from the dead!
And the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead gives us hope for the future. As Paul said, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…your faith is futile; you are still in your sins."
But Christ has been raised. That is the good news of Easter! That is the good news of the gospel! Jesus is alive, and because of that you and I can live forever. There is more to life than what we see. It is not a fantasy. It is the truth of God’s word.
Earlier this week Brenda’s pastor stood before her family and friends and declared that Brenda is now in heaven. While it hurts to be separated from her here, there is great hope in that declaration. She is more alive today than she ever has been.
Do you have hope for everlasting life? You can hear about that hope in churches all across Bryan County. May I encourage you to beat the Easter rush? Go and worship the risen Savior tomorrow. He can change your life forever!