9th November 2012

Love In A Hopeless Place

“All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. ‘No’  he said, ‘in mourning I will go down to the grave to my son.’   So his father wept for him.”
Genesis 37:35 (NIV UK)

There is a sense of hopelessness in Jacob’s words above. He had been told that his son, Joseph, had been killed in a savage encounter with a wild animal. No one could comfort Jacob because his sense of loss was so great.

The above story reminds me of my grandfather, who lost two sons before he turned 62. One died of his wounds sustained while defending a bridge near Dunkirk in 1940; the other died of pneumonia caught while training to be a sailor. This Remembrance weekend we pause to think of all those lost in two world wars and in other recent conflicts. Each was someone’s son or daughter, a close relative or friend.

The title lyrics of Rihanna’s “We found love in a hopeless place” come to mind. I don’t know the intended meaning of this song or its original context, but I do know that the dead find love in the apparent hopelessness of the grave. Psalm 139 informs us that the Spirit of God, who is love, reaches us wherever we are. “Where can I go from your Spirit? …if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (v7-8).

One of the prophets, Hosea, spoke of a hope of future life for all who have died. He wrote these words from God, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O death, is your destruction?” (13:14). This redemption from death occurred in Jesus Christ. It was not because of anything we had done. In his great love, the Father did not abandon his crucified, holy Son in the grave and let him decay (see Psalm 16:10): he raised him from the dead. Whether we understand it or not, all of us participate in Jesus’ victory over death. Thus, even in the hopelessness of death, we find the love of God.

This weekend, as well as remembering with sadness those who have been lost on the land, in the air or at sea, let us also focus on the hope that Jesus alone brings to us.

So great is God’s love that he delivers from the depths of the grave (see Psalm 86:13).

Sovereign Father, thank you that you did not leave Jesus in the grave. Thank you that through his resurrection all of us have hope for an eternal life with you. 
In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson 

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