When Grief Meets HopeWhen a believer in Christ comes face to face with the death of a loved one, the spiritual challenges are intense.
Interestingly, one of the most difficult to deal with can come from well meaning people inside the family of God.
Those who are in a struggle with overwhelming grief are sometimes greeted not with sympathy and compassion, but with sternness and even condescension.
“How can you be sad? Your loved one is in heaven. If you really believed that, you would rejoice.”
I know such things are shared with good intentions, but there have been times when I have wanted to beat these masters of insensitivity over the head with a ten pound version of Strong’s Concordance.
The Bible never says that experiencing grief is the sign of a defective faith.
Remember the shortest verse in the Bible?
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)When was Jesus moved to tears? When He saw the damage that sin and death had done to the people He created. He shared the sorrow of the family and friends of Lazarus, even though He knew He was going to raise him from the dead.
Believers don’t get the “Get Out of Jail Free” card from that kind of emotional pain in this life.
But we are given a priceless gift that can sustain us in the grief.When those who know the Lord grieve, they grieve in hope.
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13)
We know that although the pain is real and deep, it isn’t permanent.
There is a reunion waiting for us on the other side.
A man who has given to us a priceless example of this truth in practice is Greg Laurie.
As you know, Greg’s son Christopher died in a tragic car accident last week.
But this weekend at Harvest Christian Fellowship, Greg was able to share one of the most powerful and moving testimonies of the faithfulness of God in the midst of tragedy I have ever had the privilege to hear.
Days after the devastating loss of his 33-year-old son, evangelist Greg Laurie stepped onto the pulpit Sunday and affirmed, “I still believe.”
“I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be today than at church, worshipping the Lord,” Laurie said during one of Harvest Christian Fellowship’s Sunday services in Riverside, Calif.
His son, Christopher, died in a car accident on his way to Harvest, Thursday morning. His vehicle crashed into the back of a Caltrans truck on the eastbound 91 Freeway.
Laurie had to drive past the area where the crash occurred to get to Harvest on Sunday.
“Last Thursday was the most, I’ll be honest with you, the most devastating day of my life and I felt like time just stood still and I couldn’t imagine this happened,” Pastor Greg Laurie told church attendees as he fought back tears. “But I knew he was in Heaven.”
Christopher began working at Harvest as the art director three years ago. He was, as the older Laurie described him, a prodigal son at times. But in recent years, Christopher had really committed his life to Christ and was growing deep in his faith.
“My son wasn’t perfect … but the Lord was showing Christopher was really mattered,” Laurie said. “We were marveling at what God was doing in his life. He couldn’t have been in a better place spiritually.”
Laurie and his son had a close relationship. The well-known evangelist had spoiled Christopher, giving his son what he himself couldn’t have growing up in a broken home.
“If you could turn back time, sure you’d do it,” Laurie said to his 15,000-member congregation. The Harvest senior pastor would even take Christopher’s place if he could, he said, but he wasn’t given that choice.
“So I just said, ‘Lord, he’s yours. I dedicated him to you when he was a little boy and I dedicate him back to you,'” Laurie said.
With over 17,000 comments offering condolences and prayers for the Laurie family on the pastor’s blog, Laurie assured everyone, “I’m doing okay. The Lord is with me.”
“I can’t be afraid of suffering and I’m going to continue on with greater commitment,” the pastor said.
Laurie is scheduled to lead Harvest Crusades beginning Aug. 15 in Anaheim, Calif., which will be his 19th annual Southern California evangelistic event. Harvest Crusades are also being held in Philadelphia and New York in October.
Even though the evangelist admitted that heaven is closer to him and earth is “less attractive” to him now, he hasn’t given up on reaching out to tens of thousands of people and bringing them to Christ.
“I have a task to do and I want to do it,” he assured.
And he continued his task by inviting non-Christians, prodigal sons and daughters, and others to accept Christ that Sunday morning.
“Be right with God because you don’t know when life can end.” http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080728/greg-laurie-after-son-s-death-i-still-believe.htmPlease continue to pray for the Laurie family as they lean on the Lord and experience that strange mixture of grief and hope in the days ahead.
Greg Laurie after Son’s Death: I Still Believe
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