A Christmas I’ll Never Forget (Part Two)

1 Corinthians 15:55
O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

Mick was the only pastor for this small church, so it fell upon me to conduct the graveside memorial services for Benji.

That day will forever be etched in my heart. There was a grayish-white coffin barely four feet long, holding the body of a seven-year-old boy. There was Benji’s mom, Helen, with her 10-year-old son trying to stand strong and tall beside her. The rest of her family lay back in a hospital, broken and nearly crushed. All of life seemed to have stopped and stood still.

What positive words could man feebly utter in such a desperate moment? What could man possibly have to say to a mother who would wake up on Christmas morning and look at the unopened presents to a boy she loved? Humanly, that moment was filled with injustice, questions, despair and anger. It was grim and dark.

But in the midst of the darkness of death, the star of Bethlehem suddenly shone bright. As I read from the Scriptures, the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ came and swallowed up the darkness. “O death, where is your victory?”

I will never forget the contrast of agony and joy that day. If the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring hope and comfort to those who have just lost a child, then He is all powerful. The tomb of Jesus Christ is empty. We can find forgiveness and peace with God because Christ is alive.

Many couples who lose a child, as Mick and Helen did, are never able to recover, and they end up divorcing. But somehow the Yoders were able to claim the victory that Christ promises. In fact, 14 months after Benji’s death, Helen delivered a healthy baby girl. She and Mick named her Hope, as they claimed the promise of Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Together that you will never lose hope in the midst of the challenges and tragedies of life.

Do you believe God has your welfare in mind, no matter what happens to you?

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