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John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (NIV)

Job 19:25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (NIV)

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

It is in the seed that we find the potential for life. The seed, however, appears to be dead. Death hurts because of its apparent finality. In death, there is no more opportunity to interact, to love, to hate, to share, to turn away, to come together, or to come apart. It is this apparent finality, among other things, that inflicts so much pain when death occurs. However…

Things are not always what they seem. If we have the courage and if we look past the present moment, we can see that we will all die. When you look at the future from this realistic viewpoint, the future is not good. However, things are not what they seem. Instead of a future of hopeless darkness, Christ came to get us to build a future and strive for a future full of infinite Light and overflowing hope. By turning away from our hopeless present, turning away from our inner darkness and sin, accepting Him and His love into our lives, and then by living holy and devout lives we build a bridge to infinite paradise. With Christ, we have the opportunity to individually shape, mold, and determine our future, even if our present life is difficult. Even if we have a present life that is bound by chains that enslave us we still have a future full of freedom and emancipation. Even in profound grief over a personal loss, with Christ in us, we are not helpless for we can build a bridge to the future where there is no more death or tears. Things may look dark now, but appearances can be deceiving or things are not always what they seem, because everyone's future can hold joyful paradise.

1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

When We Are Separated

When the darkness falls, we will be separated from people, things, ideas, and old but comfortable surroundings that give us security. There may be a torment of the soul, and pain in our body. For the person who has no faith there is no future, only a dark tunnel that has no light at the end. What a tragic future! What a terrible present! Without Christ, without an abiding love of God through Christ springing up within us when the separations of life come, there is a horrible ripping of the soul. Even with Christ, when times of separation come we are in deep pain. Even Christ wept at the tomb of a friend. So none of us is immune from the grief of separation. Yet we can all be healed from this grief. Oftentimes we cannot do anything about the separations here on earth. Separations come as surely as night follows day. However, we have a way to deal with separations. When we surrender our life and our soul to Christ, we can look up to heaven and look within ourselves, both at the same time, and find the love of God pouring down upon us. In Christ, with Christ, and because of Him, there is always a unity or bond between us and Him. No matter what kind of separations we must undergo here on earth, Christ comes to comfort us and console us if we open our life to Him. We must not deny that separations hurt. We must express our sorrow, especially to God. For when we are torn apart, it is always God who listens and it is He who is always working to help us.

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

When We Lose

When we lose everything and have nothing left we can still sing about His Amazing Grace with a lump in our throat because we believe. We believe in a future of hope, promise, and love. Our future here on earth is always limited. There is always the darkness of death in our future. When we experience a loss we can all cling to the promises of Christ. We have a great future. Our great future is full of infinite riches, infinite glory, and infinite joy. When we experience a loss here on earth we must push ourselves to see that the things of earth or transitory, and when we see this reality, the things of earth do grow dim, because we can see Christ. None of us is a loser if we have Christ in our hearts. It is Christ who calls us to abandon the things of earth and to follow and focus only on Him. When we lose we are grief stricken. This normal response is a part of our nature. However, when we lose we must remember that there is another day. There is another game to be played. There is always another chance to win. In addition, we must all realize that the outcome of the game has already been decided by us and by the decisions we make. When we have a loss, as badly as a loss hurts us, we must all accept the ultimate victory in the end. Although we may be blind to the spiritual realities of our present moment, those realities connect us to ultimate victories in Christ. The darkness may roll in and take our families, our friends, and all our possessions. Yet we are still winners. We possess within us the infinite love and healing power of Christ. We have already won the greatest prize. We have already defeated the enemy. We have a future of promise and victory. Realistically, we must concede that our future on earth is not a good one. Our future on earth always has the reality of death and its long shadow hanging over us. Those of us who have the victory through Christ believe in Christ so firmly that if we had a future full of darkness or even a future tinged with darkness, that we know He would have told us. Yet Christ told us we have mansions in our future.

John:14:1: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. :3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. (KJV)

What Do We Do When We All We Have Left Is Our Grief?

What we do is dig deep to find the treasures of life. With Christ, the earthly treasures of life as well as the heavenly treasures that await us, can be found in our times of loss. If we did not grieve, life would be worth nothing. Our grief is a sign that we treasure life. In reverse, what we miss when we lose someone can show us what is important in life. When we find what is important in life, we must then share this with others. What we find that is so important is that life matters, love for others matters, being unselfish and selfless matters, relationships built upon respect and admiration matter, and that forgiveness that sweeps away personal hurts matters. In the bitter depths of sorrow, we can, if we want to, find the glory of life. In the terrible heartbreak of losing, we can find that there is a time ahead of us when we will never lose again. We can find this time where we will never lose again because we have Christ pouring His love and His promises into our minds, our hearts, and our souls. What we must do is absorb the awful hurt, pray and prostrate ourselves before God, and then search for His overflowing love in our hearts. His boundless love is always in us if we would but open up to it. His boundless love is what heals us. His boundless love puts a bandage on our heart and He tends to our hurts until the healing process is underway.

John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. (NIV)

Christ is the great shepherd. As long as we are willing to stay in His flock He will lead us and guide us. When we have been injured or we have fallen down, Christ comes to tend to our injuries. When we have experienced a terrible loss He picks us up and carries us through the deep darkness and through the troubled waters of our lives. When we get lost He will come and find us. When we are afraid He comes to take away our fears. When we are anxious His voice assures us that we have nothing to fear. When we are vulnerable, He tells us to be calm while He beats back the predators that would destroy us. Christ is gentle and will not force us to go where we do not want to go. His is always present in us and His love surrounds us.




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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2009 by Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018