#649. LESSONS FROM LOSS - HOPE (16/9/22)
Last week, we heard of the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96. She was the longest-serving monarch of the United Kingdom having reigned for 70 years. This week, these devotionals will be reflections on what we can learn from loss.
The Queen’s death teaches us to remember our great hope of eternal life and hope of resurrection in Christ, which all who die in Christ enjoy. Many have spoken of the help that the Queen’s deep faith gave to her. Few, however, have mentioned that the Christian hope is that she, along with anyone who dies in Christ, is still alive beyond death! Rather poetically, King Charles spoke of this in his first speech as King;
“To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey, to join my dear Papa, I would simply say this: thank you. “Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
This is poetic, but Jesus promises eternal life to all who put their faith in Him.
The Queen spoke of her faith in Christ; if her faith in the death of Christ for her sin was genuine she is not dead, she has never been more alive! Jesus promises us:
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Tim Chester, in His book, Enjoying God, teaches that the Holy Spirit wants to assure us and He works to reveal our hope to us. He encourages us to make time to allow the Spirit to remind us of our true hope:
‘John Calvin commends what he calls the “meditation on the future life”. He has in mind a kind of spiritual discipline. We’re to make time to think about the future God promises us—the renewal of creation, the redemption of our bodies and our adoption as children. We’re to remind one another of the “eternal glory” that awaits us. We’re to view our troubles from this perspective…Meditating on the future life is something we could do on a regular basis, perhaps as part of our regular Bible-reading and prayer. But it’s also something we can do whenever we groan. Every groan you utter—from the sigh you make getting out of a chair to the aching void of bereavement—is an invitation to enjoy the hope of the Spirit. For some of us that adds up to many opportunities each day—many opportunities to look forward with eager expectation.’ (Tim Chester, Enjoying God. Page 118)
The shortness of this life, even a life of 96 years, forces us to look beyond this life. Jesus is speaking to us again that “I am the resurrection and the life whoever lives believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Tim Farron’s tribute from Friday (9th) speaks of the hope that we have in loss better than anyone else that I’ve heard at this time:
‘As has been said, Her Majesty did not seek her office; she practised it with utter humility. The most famous human being on planet Earth and yet she acted with the grace and humility that none of us here—no offence, please—has ever managed to match. She was a constant to us all, but, as has been said already, the constant in her life was her faith in Jesus Christ. Let us remember this: for many people it may be a perfunctory ceremonial faith, but for her it was not; it was a living, active faith in a living Saviour. Let us remember this: we have sung for 70 years “God Save The Queen”. If her faith is accurate—I am certain it was—God has saved the Queen. We now transfer our allegiance to King Charles III, who I am proud and honoured to serve. God save the King.’
Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that anyone who believes in Him will live even after they have died physically? Do you also have the hope of future physical resurrection that is our inheritance and hope in Christ? May loss teach all of us the hope that we have in Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you again with this hope even in these days of challenge. May the words expressed in this song by Stuart Townend be our reality:
“There is a hope that stands the test of time, That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave, To see the matchless beauty of a day divine When I behold His face! When sufferings cease and sorrows die, And every longing satisfied. Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul, For I am truly home.”
TOGETHER IN SEPTEMBER
During September 2022, at CCP, we are having 'Together' meetings instead of our usual Community Groups. You are very welcome to attend these gatherings.
Please come to the church building at 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings - refreshments and a meal will be available.