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HopeBible Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:13

The other day, I was traveling down a lonely highway on the Colorado plains. It may have been lonely for me, but it was extremely lonely for a certain bird. He was fluttering its wings with all its strength. I was perplexed. Why was this bird flapping and fluttering so hard but not moving upward? The little bird was trying to lift something from off the highway. It was a dead and very flat bird, maybe a friend or a family member.

That sight filled me with sadness and it reminded me of a similar sight but instead of birds, the scene featured humans. It occurred at the funeral of an unchurched man. Let’s call the man Billy.

A preacher from a local church was called by the funeral home to do the eulogy because Billy’s family had no church affiliation. In interviewing Billy’s family and friends, the preacher was searching for some good things to say about Billy. Every person the preacher interviewed, when asked to state something memorable about Billy, said that he was fun to be around when he was drunk. Everyone said that, and that’s all they said, even his mom.

A couple days later the funeral took place. After the eulogy, the preacher witnessed a sight he’d never seen. There was hysterical crying from the mother. That isn’t strange. However, while she was crying hysterically, the mother went over to the casket and tried picking Billy up. She wanted to take his body home with her. Through her wailing, she screamed these words, “I want to take him home. I know just the right place to put him. I want to take my Billy home!” People had to grab her and take her away. The utter hopelessness of this woman is tragic. And statistically speaking, this type of hopelessness is found within every other house on your street, and my street too. This should cause a little sadness in each of us.

First Thessalonians 4:13 says: “Our brothers, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope.” (TEV) Paul goes on to describe that the dead will rise and have life again. That is true hope. I feel compelled to help the world, at least my small part of it, find the hope I have in Christ.

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I wish I could carpet bomb the hopelessness out of my community but it is a difficult and time consuming task. It can only be done one soul at a time, and in our world of instant gratification, that just doesn’t seem fast enough. But we have to start somewhere don’t we?

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