As we gather on this one-year anniversary to celebrate the life of a young man who passed away, we realize with his departure into the hands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that these memories of our beloved are precious indeed.
During the memorial celebration, I spoke of "Hope Springs Eternal."
In Titus 2:13-14, the apostle tells his young bishop: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
To the Romans, Paul declares in Chapter 5: "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
Psalm 127:3 says, "Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."
We train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they won't depart from it.
Jacob's wife Rachel was barren: "And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister (Leah) and said unto Jacob, give me children lest I die." (Genesis 30:1)
"And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bore a son; and said God hath taken away me reproach. And she called his name Joseph and said: The Lord shall add to me another son." Verses 22 and 23.
The second son was conceived. "And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed and she had hard labor. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said unto her; Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
"And it came to pass, as her soul was departing, - for she was dying - that she called his name Ben-Oni: but his father Jacob called him Benjamin.
"And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem."
Jeremiah the Prophet mentions Rachel again: "thus saith the Lord; "A voice was heard in Ramah (Bethlehem), lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
"Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy, and there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border."
Paul mentions to the church at Corinth: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
"But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christs' at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom of God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
Rachel gave her life for Benjamin. God gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Jesus mentions that the foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests but the Son of man has no where to lay His head! He was asleep in the boat on a pillow when the storm came and he rebuked it and peace came to the sea.
He laid in a borrowed tomb from Joseph of Aremethia for three days and nights. Recently while visiting the Fields of the Wood (near Murphy, N.C.), we noticed in the replica of the garden tomb, a dry wasp nest, hornets nest and a live bird's nest.
I ministered on Easter Sunday morning sunrise service in front of that same replicated tomb that "Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath." In that same tomb where different places of rest for birds and insects were visible, Christ is our rest.
Upon coming home the Monday after Easter, a mother robin had built her nest on the rear tire of our old van.
That robin's nest put confirmation of the message The Holy Spirit gave me, that in Jesus who said: "He had no earthly place to lay his Head, and is our rest and comfort. He is our Sabbath! He is the resurrection and the life. He that believeth on Him, though He were dead, shall never die."
God called Moses from the burning bush and said: "I am the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. Those Patriarchs had all died and were buried, but Jesus tells us that He is a God of the Living, not a God of the Dead. Those patriarchs are very much alive."
"I am the Resurrection and the life." "I am that I am."
Our beloved young man is very much alive. We remember his young life and many questions still remain as to why God chose to take him from us at such a young age. We remember him and our hope springs eternal. Will the circle be unbroken? Yes, we cling to precious memories.
Precious loved ones, Jesus is calling us to a place of rest in Him from the storms of life.
"Come unto me, I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, hear me and be blessed. I am meek and lowly, come and trust my might. Come my yoke is easy and my burden's light."
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No man can come unto the Father unless His Spirit draws him. He is talking to all of us today. Trust Him, He will never leave you or forsake you. We must abide in Him and He will abide in us.
We must draw close to Jesus for eternity's sake. We have only two choices of eternal destination. Let us draw high unto Him. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. But what a glorious sight to be hold our loved ones, this young man, and to see Jesus and live forever with him is joy unspeakable, and full of glory.