Finding Hope in Times of Heartache
By Lynne Raatz
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jacob Wetterling. If you have lived in Minnesota, or a neighboring state for any length of time, this is a name with which you are sadly all too familiar. In 1989, 11-year-old Jacob was abducted at gun-point while riding his bike home with his brother and best friend after renting a movie from a local convenience store. While the search for Jacob lasted nearly 3 decades, his family never gave up hope for his safe return. However, this past week a man currently being held on child pornography charges led police to human remains that have been identified as that of Jacob.
As this tragic news broke, I couldn’t seem to get this heartbreaking story out of my mind. On one of the first nights after hearing the latest developments, finishing my usual before bed routine of checking on each of my 3 boys, giving them a kiss, pulling their covers close over them, and whispering to each of them that they are my precious gift from God, sleep eluded me. I couldn’t seem to stop a steady stream of tears that slowly soaked my pillow as my mind kept going back to the Wetterling family. I cannot begin to wrap my mind around the unspeakable heartache they are experiencing.
As I lay in bed thinking of their family, praying for their peace and comfort, I couldn’t shake the thought that this broken, sinful, fallen world is not our home. The world in which we currently live is a fractured picture of what is to come.
It’s easy to look around in discouragement, to hear of heinous crimes, and heartbreaking tragedy and wonder if it is all going to end. To wonder if a better time will ever come. The Bible assures us it will.
As we read through the Bible we read of God’s plan for humanity. Of how sin came into the world through Adam and Eve, but how God overcame sin and death through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We read of how evil will ultimately be defeated when Christ returns and how a new heaven and earth will be established in which there will be no more sin, sorrow, or suffering. Do you believe this?
We learn that when Christ returns those who have accepted His gift of salvation will spend eternity with Him in heaven. In fact, we are told in 2 Peter 3:8-9 the reason Christ is waiting to return is that He does not desire for any to perish, but rather, wants everyone to come to repentance.
My hope for each of you reading this is that the thought of Jesus’ return brings you great joy and hope in times of heartache. That if you have a personal relationship with Jesus you know when He comes you will leave this broken, fallen world and spend eternity with Him – that you will spend eternity in heaven. If we profess to believe in Christ, nothing should bring us more joy or hope than the thought of His return.
If Jesus’ return is something you have never really considered, if it seems more like fiction than reality, I would ask you to give it thought this week. If we believe the Bible is truth, then we cannot deny the reality of Christ’s return. Jesus Himself promised it (John 14:1-4). If Jesus was wrong about His return, how can we trust anything else He taught?
If you do believe Christ will one day return, but the idea of His coming conjures up feelings in you that are less than joy filled, I would ask you to evaluate why. If you have questions, I would love to hear from you.
Finally, if you haven’t placed your faith in Jesus, if you haven’t accepted His offer of salvation, I would ask why not? What is it that is keeping you from doing so?
While it is easy to let the brokenness of this world leave us feeling discouraged, let us remember today this world is not our home. The Bible promises one day Christ will return and all who have accepted His gift of salvation will spend eternity with Him in paradise. This world is not our home; I pray you have confidence in your eternal home and that just the thought of it will bring you joy today.
If you have questions, or need prayer, please don’t hesitate to send me a personal message.