Thoughts on Death and Sorrow in the Aftermath of the Paris Attacks

What if you had been in the midst of the chaos that reigned throughout Paris Friday night? Do you think about that? What would you have done? What would have been your thoughts?

In the unpredictable world that we live in, I believe we are wise to consider the core of our beliefs. We need to have a personal understanding of the essence of life. Some look for it and discover truth in a crisis. I’m asking that you think ahead. Know in advance who you are, where you came from and where you’re going. Times of crisis demand total focus and life ambitions quickly narrow to one pursuit: survival.

I discovered a pattern in scripture with a pinnacle truth to help you. Recorded in the Old Testament is a detailed story of a father and his beloved Son, Joseph. The father, Jacob, was prepared to live out his remaining days in deep grief. You see, he believed for years that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. The actual account of Joseph’s disappearance reveals the twisted hearts of his jealous siblings: they sold him into slavery and fabricated the story of having found a bloodied remnant of his cloak.

Crisis brought Joseph’s brothers to Egypt where, unbeknownst to them, their sold sibling ruled as second-in-command to Pharaoh. The brothers bowed before the man they believed to be an Egyptian and the source of grain that they desperately needed to purchase. Joseph eventually revealed himself to his brothers and they were asked to go back to Canaan and retrieve their father.

“Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel [Jacob] said, ‘I am convinced! My son Joseph is still alive'” (Genesis 45:26-28, emphasis added).

Let’s relate this scenario to crises that we face: when death and sorrow are before us, may we also have cause for a revival of the spirit.

The apostle Paul penned beautiful words of hope that seem to parallel the Old Testament highlights above. He said, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all- how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things… Jesus Christ who died- more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:31, 34).

In the same way that Jacob was revived by the news of his son’s “resurrection,” so we are blessed by the resurrection of Jesus! Allow the quickening of your spirit to stir you because this is revival truth:  Jesus died for you so that you may have life. Now get this: Jesus is alive again and is talking to God about you and me. He is interceding for us. In the same way that Joseph stood in the gap and spared his family from death caused by famine, Jesus stands in the gap and spares us from eternal death- separation from God because of our sin. In essence, Jesus tells the Father, “My blood made payment for the sin of Renee. Her debt in paid in full.”

Where is your heart in response to this good news? Like Jacob who was revived in spirit, may you also proclaim, “I am convinced!”

I am convinced. Friend, it is my desire that when you face a crisis, deep in your heart you will have an “I am convinced” belief. Although hell unleashes its fury before your eyes, you remain steadfast. Sound impossible?

Soak in Paul’s “I am convinced” declaration that concludes his words about Jesus’ death and resurrection.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us front the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Does that really work, you ask? Yes! Being rooted by the love of God that is in Christ Jesus is the assurance needed when facing a crisis. Tested and proven over and over throughout the millennia- the unshakeable love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

I am convinced.

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