Do you approach each day as an adventure of faith? There is a deep longing for adventure hard-wired into our souls. We long to make an impact, to do something meaningful or to serve in a way that leaves a legacy. What many refer to as a “search for significance” is something that resonates with every human being. Honest, deep philosophical reflection leads us to acknowledge that we believe we were made for something greater than ourselves.
This summer, we were honored to host Pastor Cedric Kanana at Hope Haven Rwanda. His electrifying and miraculous experience of meeting Jesus in the midst of tragedy set Cedric on a course filled with adventures of faith! Today, his passion is to introduce people to Jesus by sharing the hope that Jesus offers as “The way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
Pastor Cedric’s message forces us to ask ourselves, “Where will we find hope without Jesus?” During the last 11 months, my wife, Kimberly, has experienced the unexpected death of both of her parents. We believe they are both with Jesus, and that gives us hope. Each time we face the death of someone we love, we are forced to think deeply about life and our own mortality. Death is a reminder that things are not right in the universe; it is a perpetual reminder that what is—is not what God originally intended.
God made us to know Him, to walk with Him, to love Him, to experience deep abiding and eternal friendship with Him. However, sin marred that world—and death has been the result to every human being since Adam and Eve.
Death is something unknown and the unknown usually frightens us. In the entire history of the world there has only been one who conquered death. Only one who died, triumphed over death and was resurrected. Jesus Christ is the only one, and because of who He is and what He did, we no longer need to face death with uncertainty.
When we come to know Jesus, we need no longer fear death. He has seen it and has defeated it on our behalf. Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ has removed the sting of death. Knowing Him can prepare all of us to face death without fear or dread, to have hope beyond the grave!
Remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
As you reflect on life and death this week, I’d like to share an encouraging poem authored by my friend Christina Joy Hommes:
The parting greeting we exchange
Is beautiful – ‘Goodbye.’
The thoughts and feelings it evokes
Can make us laugh and cry.
Goodbye is from the longer phrase
‘God bless ye’ as we part –
A benediction and a prayer,
A blessing from the heart.
On one hand is the happy part:
Recalling from the past
The times of fun and fellowship
We’ve shared – they went so fast.
But on the other hand it means
Our paths go separate ways,
And for a season we won’t share
Those pleasant, happy days.
Yet by it we profess our hope
That God goes with us both
To guide us to a certain end –
As certain as His oath.
For when we say goodbye we know
The Lord will call His own
To meet forever in the air
And gather round his throne.
Goodbye, dear friend, until we meet
Above or sooner here
To share what blessings God will send
The days between to cheer.
(I urge you to check out both Pastor Cedric Kanana’s Book, “Dying in Islam, Rising in Christ” and Christina Joy Hommes’ poems at HOPE Refined. They have both inspired me deeply. Also, I accidentally misspoke in the video—we host Community Outreach Events at Hope Haven once every month, not each week.)