This has been a week of anguish and pain. How does one process the passing of a life? Where does common sense land when irrational behaviors bring chaos and death? Who constructs justification when devastation invades the corners of a heart?
Earlier this week my husband sent me a text that said “Charlie sent an email. You need to read it.” Wondering what my uncle would have to say that is so important in the middle of my work day, I trusted my husband’s instruction and went right to my emails. A searing pain shot straight through my heart as I read the words that one of my cousins had suffered a severe brain injury and was not going to survive. How does one process such shock? Though years and miles have separated us, this man is blood. He is family. He is childhood memories and sweet laughter and shenanigans and hot summers and cross country trips in the back of the station wagon. How can he be gone? How will my sweet aunt and uncle and cousins survive this loss? The death of a child plagues me at every turn. Having one who is delicate and weak and declining with the passing of the clock has bred a fear of loss in the darkest corners of my heart. To think of my sweet family enduring this same fear and loss produced a flood of tears and empathy. I simply cannot imagine the searing pain those I love are facing at this very moment.
From this heartache, just a few days have passed since my phone beeped and hollered and screamed of the largest mass shooting in US history. Then a horrendous tragedy of a babe, just a two year old tragically stolen from his father’s arms in the Disney World lagoon. More pain. More questions of why? More disbelief. Oh the pain of death! It comes and steals the breath of every person at some point. They say death is a part of life. And death is not the end for those who believe. They say death is freedom of this world’s pain. But what can they say to calm the hurting heart? What can they say to numb the shooting pain of stolen life?
I once saw a saying that has stuck with me. It says this – Life on earth is the closest thing to hell a Christian will ever experience. Oh how true! Anyone who has put their hope in Jesus Christ, who has eternity in Heaven to look toward, who believes the pain and destruction and death of this world is all a result of sin – everyone who believes truly is in a living hell on earth, the only hell we will ever experience. While the realization does not erase or minimize the pain of loss, it does offer a perspective deserving of thought and attention. It produces the gift of hope.
For the Christian, this life is about relationship. Relationship with Christ – trusting in His provision, in His plan, in His will for our lives no matter how may days we are given. This life is about others – sharing Jesus, the hope of eternity, the power of grace, the redemption of sin, sharing Jesus with others. This life is temporary for those who believe in the One who saves. This life is about finding joy in the mundane, in the stress, in the loss, in the happy, in the unexpected. This life is being the light of Jesus in a world of darkness.
And how does one do that? How does one find the strength to accept the task? Only through the cornerstone. In Bible times it was the rock, the foundation on which a building was constructed. Once the cornerstone was put in place, the rest of the structure or building was formed around it. If the cornerstone was removed, the structure would collapse. Isaiah 28:16 says, “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.” At the time this was a prophesy of Christ who had not yet been born. It was a promise.
I love the song Cornerstone by Hillsong – listen to it here:
No matter the pain, the unanswered questions, the confusion of a lost and broken world, Christ is still the cornerstone for those who believe. He is comfort to the hurting heart. He is faith to the unbelieving spirit. He is eternity stored in the hearts of all believers. He is the foundation of a life built on trust in His saving grace.
Hope exists. It dwells in the hearts of those who believe, who call on the name of the One who can save. The One who brings peace in the midst of a chaotic, lost, confusing world full of pain. In the midst of this hell on earth, there is much to rejoice in when you choose an eternal perspective. The Lord is the only source of peace and joy in the midst of the broken. He is the cornerstone, the solid foundation. When the storms come, when they ravage security and steal breath and peace, when they uproot dreams and destroy connection – the cornerstone stands. Still He stands firm with His grasp tightly bound over us. We often do not see or feel the safety of His grip, we doubt the strength of the foundation, yet He stands firm.
Isaiah 55:8 ~ My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
Christ alone, cornerstone, weak made strong in the Savior’s love, through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all! There is HOPE for all who choose to believe and put their trust in the Cornerstone – Jesus, the one who saves.
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. ~ Romans 10:13