From Pastor Johnny

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One Hope Beyond Great Tragedy

Kobe Bryant, his daughter & 7 other souls (three of those being a husband, wife and their daughter) ran suddenly and tragically into the side of a mountain in a helicopter and were killed on Sunday morning January 26, 2020. After the stunning news of this horrible tragedy, the first person I thought of was Vanessa Bryant – Kobe’s wife of 18 years.

Bryant has three more daughters ages 16, 3 and 7 months.  It broke my heart to think of how their mother would have to walk through her own grief of losing her husband and daughter while still leading and supporting these young girls.  It is simply a horror and one of the worst nightmares of a wife and mother.

Is there anything that can possibly give comfort or help to someone in such a horrific time? 

Is there somewhere a person might look which might even begin to offer some level of relief from this grief?

This husband of almost two decades, and a 13-year-old daughter, are suddenly gone. The father and sister to the other three girls will no longer be there to laugh, play, talk and help.  A wife and mother in this situation will most likely have times where she feels very alone, because she normally would have confided in and worked through life with her husband and life partner.  The remaining daughters and sisters will sometimes feel alone, like they are missing a part of themselves.

Is there any help for someone whose heart is broken in a situation like this?  I would suggest that the only help that might begin to assuage the deeply broken heart of this wife and mother – as well as her daughters – is the thought that they might see their husband/father and daughter/sister again.  And, though it might be a long wait, the hope that we might see a person again does give some relief to the pain of missing their  presence.

I have pastored churches in three different military towns, and I have seen scores of military families face the long absence of a spouse and parent with the comfort of the day when they will be reunited.  This is a huge comfort when a loved one is gone.

But, what of this comfort when a loved one is gone from this world?  Especially when that leaving was done suddenly with no notice whatsoever?  Can this crushing loss find any help?

 The only thing, at this point, that could possibly bring hope is the opportunity to see them again.  Recently, I read an Instagram post from a person read, “You don’t know true heartache until you deeply desire to talk with someone who has passed from this world.” And yet, I want to strongly suggest to anyone reading this that there is hope.

In what is one of the single most important doctrines of the entire Christian faith – and of the Bible – the resurrection of Jesus Christ - provides this hope.  The resurrection of Christ is so important that, in 1Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul says that there is no Christian faith without it. 

The Apostle Paul also goes on to explain that, because Christ was resurrected every born-again believer in Christ will be resurrected as well.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.” 1Corinthians 15:12-13 ESV

            For the follower of Christ, the resurrection of Jesus in the past, thus guaranteeing the resurrection of every believer in the future, offers the one bit of comfort to a grieving wife, mother, child or loved one – the hope that we will one day be able to see, hug, interact with and enjoy the company of the one who is gone.

            Yes, the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the believer one day offers hope.  And while we still grieve over the loss of that immediate fellowship with the one who is gone, knowing we can be with them again someday surely offers just a bit of relief from the overwhelming emotional pain. 

            I do not know of the spiritual state of either Kobe Bryant or his daughter Gianna.  But I do know this, the horrible heartache his precious wife and daughters feel now has little hope of subsiding any time soon without some glimmer of light. 

            If it were my wife and kids, the glimmer would be because of the resurrection. Because of the resurrection guarantee, if I were taken suddenly from this world, they could have that hope of seeing me again.  I surely hope that is the case for Vanessa Bryant and her dear girls.  And, I also hope the truth of the resurrection is personally true for you.