April 20, 2021
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
I officiated a funeral several years ago for a woman who had fought the good fight but eventually succumbed to the ravishes of cancer. I chose to break from the normal readings that convey comfort and hope (John 11:24, Revelation 21:1-4) and instead preach a short message on how the deceased experienced the abundant life in a world full of pain and sorrow. I did not sugarcoat it. Her loved ones knew well of her fear, anxiety, and doubts. Instead, I focused on how God drew her into his presence in the midst of her faith struggles and revealed himself in a tangible way that restored her peace.
One week earlier, sitting by her bedside in the hospital, I noticed that this beloved mother and grandmother who had been fretful over the process of dying and leaving behind family was now calm—even smiling. What’s going on? I asked. She proceeded to tell me of how she dreamed the night before of her hospital room being painted her favorite color and of seeing Jesus sitting by her side holding her hand. It was just what she needed to press through the last days of her life with abundant love, joy, and peace.
Father God, sometimes, life seems anything but abundant. We worry about many things that rob us of joy. In those moments, grant us an awareness of your presence that brings us peace, your joy that is our strength, and your grace that sustains us. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling