Hope that Endures
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
I recently visited a dear lady in Hospice who only had a few days to live. As I looked into her weak eyes, I saw a life that had been worn thin with cancer. Unable to speak, I realized that our conversation would be one sided. Sitting down next to her I held her hand and fumbled for a topic. What could I say to lift her spirits and calm her fears? The newest building project at the church seemed silly, since she would never live to see it. The latest political developments in Washington were certainly a waste of time. Whether the food at the hospice was good was meaningless because she had stopped eating days ago. The only topic that came to my mind, worthy of the moment was Jesus and heaven. I assured her that better days were ahead and soon she would be loose of the cords binding her to this earth and free from her present pain. After a brief time, I prayed with her and left.
As I pushed open the doors and breathed fresher air, the thought occurred to me the only message that really matters is Jesus and His love. All of life becomes quite simple when faced with death.
We are all, from time to time, burdened down with life. If relationships aren’t driving us nuts, then circumstances arise to drag our minds into despair. Days that begin with the promise of sunshine end with the storm clouds of hopelessness. We have all experienced days when the return of Jesus sounded like music in our ears. What’s the answer to the heaviness of life; to the dark days of Hospice?
It’s the same message I gave to that sweet lady in Hospice. Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” We don’t need sermons that encourage us to live on the sunny side of life or pray till you get your breakthrough. We need Jesus Himself and the assurance that this life is only the beginning. We need to understand that God never makes a mistake and whatever we encounter in this life just makes heaven even sweeter. When I decided to follow Jesus, it was for the long haul. My faith in Christ never attached itself to strings of this world. We don’t get to choose most of life. He does, and His choices, as painful as they can be at times, are always perfect.
As I drove off that day, knowing that the next time I would see her was in heaven, my heart was again reminded of His promises. Jesus loves us and will never leave us. That really covers the whole ball of wax. A few weeks later I preached her funeral. There, in the crowd, were many of her friends and loved ones who did not know Christ. Her death gave me the opportunity to share the hope of the gospel to men and women who needed to hear it. The only hope for our dry and dusty existences is the gospel of Jesus Christ… For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.