When my grandpa died back in February of 2013, it was a rough time for my family. He would always tell us joke after joke after joke, and I was always amazed at how he remembered not only so many jokes, but also the punch lines for each one! At his funeral, I had the privilege to get up and speak to many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins who I rarely see. For me, speaking at my grandpa’s funeral was an opportunity to present the Gospel message of Christ to so much of my family who simply have no relationship with Christ. Truth be told, my parents and I are the only ones from my mother’s side of the family who proclaim to be followers of Christ.
Death is never easy; it stinks. As followers of Christ, we have hope. We know that this is not the end, but merely the beginning. In 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 Paul writes, “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” When Christ returns, those who have passed away before us will be raised. We will no longer have the earthly bodies that can get tired and hurt. Instead, we will receive new heavenly bodies that will last forever.
A month and a half before my grandpa passed away, I went and visited him for the last time in the hospital. I was getting ready to go back to Chicago the next morning, so I stopped at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester. When I got there he was asleep, but the nurse woke him up for me, and he had a big smile when he saw me…I always knew I was his favorite grandchild. He sat up, and we talked about life, school, how the food was, and about how we were going to break him out of the hospital. Just before I left, I asked him if I could pray with him as I always would. He gladly reached out his hand for mine as I prayed with him. After we prayed he looked up at me and told me how proud he was of me, of the man I had become, of my choice to go into full-time ministry, and above all that that he loved me.
I will never forget that amazing day with my grandpa. You see, when my grandpa passed away, I knew I would see him again. I had hope because I knew he had accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. There is no doubt in my mind that one day I will see him again in his new heavenly body, no more hospital stays, no more pain, no more medication, just that big smile and his contagious belly laugh.
In Christ, we have hope. We know that one day we will see our fellow brothers, sisters, and loved ones in Christ again. However, if you take a step back and look at verse 51, Paul tells us how we will all be changed when the trumpet sounds in the twinkle of an eye. We have no idea when Christ will return, but He will. Until that day, we must continue to spread the amazing message of the Gospel to those who are hurting, searching, and without hope. You have that hope, now share it with the world, and make it contagious. I know I want to make it as contagious as my grandpa’s smile and his laugh, how about you?
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