Jimmy McNeal

 
 

Jan 18, 2017

Tears of Hope

I was moved to tears today and have been often in the last couple of months. Tragedy has hit home in this heart of mine from loosing our second and third child to miscarriages, to loosing 5 other family members of Staci's and mine in the last 12 months, including my Great Aunt last night. Simply put, I hate death.

And today I heard these words as they were read out loud and they struck me deep to the chore of my soul. As our staff stood and worshipped Jesus through song, I moved to the back of the room. While overhearing their voices worshiping this God I love so dearly, I fell to my knees, read these same words that were just read over us, and just wept. 

"I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. 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 the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

"Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O death, where is your victory?
 O death where is your sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

I'm not going to sit here and explain the ins and outs of this passage, but I will share what God led me to process while on my knees wiping tear after tear from my eyes. This passage reminded me that one day I will be changed, I'm not talking about the day in which I begged God to save my soul, but I'm talking about the change that will now happen after death because he saved my soul. As I read the words "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom", the reality of death coming for all of us struck me as I thought about my Aunt, my unborn children, my cousin, and Uncles who have faced that absolute outcome. 

This life has a last breath, last heart beat, last I love you, last sunrise, last sunset, last of....you fill in the blank. But the last trumpet that all of us will hear, Yes, this last trumpet will be a sign of the beginning. This last trumpet will sound at the return of Jesus Christ returning for the church. This last trumpet brings flawless change. This perishable body of mine will put on the imperishable, this mortal body of mine will put on immortality, and then these words of old will be words of the here and now. "Death is swallowed up in victory, O death where is your victory...where is your sting?"

Tears fell even harder as I read, "the sting of death is sin"...there will be no more sin, no more law, but that's not why we celebrate. NO! "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ". Oh the joy that filled my heart then, and that fills my heart now as I write. I've been given victory of death through Jesus. My Aunt who died last night has been given the victory because she knew and now knows Jesus all the more. 

So my encouragement to those walking through difficult times, seeing death face to face, or still have moments of grief like I do.

TRUST IN JESUS

Ask Him not to show you why, although it's ok to ask that question as you grieve. But ask Him to reveal Himself to you all the more. Ask Him to be your hope for tomorrow, your strength to carry on, your refuge to find shelter from the storm, your guide when the way seems dark, your savior, rescue, comfort, friend, counselor, helper, and whatever else you may need. Ask Him to show you that He's better than anything this life has to offer. 

I encourage you to ask, because I have. I encourage you to pray, because I've prayed. I encourage you with these words, because they encouraged me today. 

"my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

Nothin' but love, 

Jimmy

 


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