This week our church family has had to face the grim reality of an untimely death.  A young lady, 24 years old and expecting a child, was killed in an automobile accident.  But through this ordeal the husband and family was surrounded with love, comfort and compassion from the church.  

   We grieved, but we grieved with hope.  The Bible notes that we feel sorrow but not as others who have no hope.  In Joseph Bayly's book entitled The Last Thing We Talk About, he recounts a personal story that gives a glimpse at death's reality.  

   What is death?  A few years ago I was waiting to see Dr. Irving Wolman, hematologist at Philadelphia Children's Hospital.  The day before, we had buried our almost-five-year-old, who had died of leukemia.  Now I was waiting to thank the man who had been so kind to our little boy and to us during the nine months between diagnosis and death.  

   Dr. Wolman's secretary beckoned to me.  When I approached her desk, she did not tell me, as I expected, that the doctor would now see me.  Instead, she looked toward a little boy playing on the floor.  In my preoccupation I had failed to notice any others in the waiting room  

   "He has the same problem your little boy had."  The secretary spoke quietly.   

   I sat down next to the little boy's mother.  We were far enough away from him, and we talked softly enough that he could not hear us.  

   "It's hard bringing him in here every two weeks for these tests, isn't it."  I didn't ask a question; I stated a fact.  The uncertainty whether a child is still in remission; or the fearful cells will reappear under the microscope, makes the mind run wild.  "Hard?"  She was silent for a moment.  "I die every time.  And now he's beginning to sense that something's wrong..."  Her voice trailed off.  

   "It's good to know, isn't it,"  I spoke slowly, choosing my words with unusual care, "that even though the medical outlook is hopeless, we can have hope for our children in such a situation.  We can be sure that after our child dies, he'll be completely removed from sickness and suffering and everything like that, and be completely well and happy."  

   "If I could only believe that," the woman replied.  "But I don't.  When he dies, I'll just have to cover him up with dirt and forget I ever had him."  She turned back to watching her little boy push a toy auto on the floor.  

   "I'm glad I don't feel that way."  I didn't want to say it, I wanted to leave her alone with her apprehension.  I wanted to be alone with my grief.  But I was compelled to speak--perhaps with the same compulsion I feel to write this book.  

   "Why?"  This time she didn't turn toward me, but kept watching her child.  

   "Because we covered our little boy up with dirt yesterday afternoon.  I'm in here to thank Dr. Wolman for his kindness today."  

   "You look like a rational person."  (I was glad she didn't say, "I'm sorry.").  She was looking straight at me now.  "How can you possibly believe that the death of a man, or a little boy, is any different from the death of an animal?"

   How can we grieve with hope?  What gives hope to those grieving a loss of a child, mother, father, husband, or spouse?  It is because of Jesus' resurrection.  He proved He held power over death and the grave when He raised Lazarus from the dead.  He brought hope back from the cold, dark grave when He walked out of the tomb.  

   The apostle Paul said it well-- "Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).


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