By Tim Sumner, Pastor, The River, Little Falls
More and more people need relief from the mundane. More and more people need encouragement in their lives. More and more people need a hug.
As I saw them, and as I spoke to them, I saw tears. Tears of grief. Tears of sorrow. Tears that showed how close the person was to them who had passed from this life.
I stood before them and wanted to fix it. I wanted the pain to go away. I wanted them to not hurt any longer. My desire was for them to feel happy-go-lucky.
As I led the memorial service, I saw smiles begin to emerge as memories were shared about the person who was no longer present. Her antics and behaviors at events in her life resulted in smiles for those who remembered them.
But the pain of their loss remained. I would have liked to have been able to do something.
Life is filled with discouragement. Pain and suffering are all around us. Frustration has become a part of life. Grief and sorrow surround us.
People turn to some form of escape. It is easy and desirable to turn to drugs and alcohol, sex and pornography as well as other types of destructive behavior. Rather than live in a way that results in hope, there is a tendency to remain in hopelessness.
Many who live in a state of hopelessness believe that they have little value and little to offer others. As the younger child acts inappropriately in order to get some attention even if it is negative, the older person acts out throwing caution to the wind. Many times the result is a situation where their individual rights are taken away as they are sentenced to prison or forced to go through treatment.
There comes a time in our lives when we begin to question if there is something better than what we have been experiencing. There comes a time when we begin to ask if there is something beyond the confines of this world. The death of a loved one is one of these times. Sitting in jail or in treatment is also one of those times.
Is there anyone there? Is there anyone who cares? If there is a God, it feels like he is a million miles away. And if he is there, he certainly doesn’t care. At least this is how we think when we go through the difficulties of life.
Life is hard. And it is not intended that we go through it alone.
Jesus stands with his nail-scarred hands opened to us saying: “Come to me, all of you who are weak, weary, and burdened and I will give you rest.” Jesus said to us: “I stand at the door of your heart, knocking. If anyone will open that door and begin to let me in, I will come in, and fellowship with him, and he with me.” Jesus wants us to open the door just a crack to begin to let the light of his love shine in. He wants us to see for ourselves who he really is and just how much he really loves us. He wants to go through life with us, giving us the strength and power to be victorious.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)