Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trusting in the Audacious Claims of the Bible

We received a gift of a framed card that reads, “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” This card is on a bookshelf in our home surrounded by numerous framed and unframed pictures of our little son. In many different ways, including the wonderful birthday celebration we had for Micah last week, we certainly treasure memories of our son. We are so grateful that Heather was able to be a “stay-at-home mom” during Micah’s short tenure here on earth. We are so grateful for our many pictures and videos of him. We are so grateful for these memories.

Many friends and family members have shared how Micah’s death has made a deep and positive impact on their lives. Several friends of ours who have young children have told us of the opportunities occasioned by Micah’s death to talk to their children about death and about eternity. Many of those who attended Micah’s funeral were moved by Pastor Kenny’s sermon to focus on how life is “not about us.” We are grateful for the fact that Micah’s life and death has caused people to consider “the big picture.”

But the source of our comfort is not chiefly in our memories of Him, nor in the positive influence that his life and death have had on others. The source of our comfort mainly lies in the words of this 2,000-year old book, the Bible, a book that claims to have in it the very words of God. The audacious claims of this old Book about God and his love for Micah have made all the difference.

This book claims that the same God who created the earth desires to be in a personal relationship with each of us. The book claims that the creator of the universe cares about each and every one of us. The book claims that, in order to create a personal relationship with us, God took the form of a man, Jesus, and came to earth. Jesus taught his followers how to live and how to have a personal relationship with God. Before Jesus, the garbage in our life that makes us imperfect in comparison to the perfectly loving and powerful creator of the universe made a personal relationship with God impossible because of the incongruity between our character and God’s character. But the book claims that through the suffering and death of Jesus, Jesus himself took the punishment for our garbage, for our sin, and that through this suffering and death we can have a personal relationship with a holy and perfect God.

Finally, the Bible claims that for those who have been made “perfect and Holy” by Christ Jesus, we can look forward to an eternal life with Jesus. 1 John 5:15 says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” For those who pass from this earth as followers of Christ, this heaven is immediate. Jesus told one of the criminals who was with Him on the cross that, “…today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43.

Micah was too young to have the opportunity to make a conscious decision to follow Christ. But based upon numerous promises found in scripture, we believe that the work of Christ on the cross “covered” Micah, and now Micah has the gift of eternal life. The central promise upon which we rest our hopes, the truth that brings us greatest comfort, is the audacious, counter-cultural claims of the Bible that Micah is happier now, in Heaven, than he ever was with us during his short time on earth.

In Psalm 16:11, King David says, “You have made known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” In Philippians 1:23, the Apostle Paul indicates that these pleasures far outweigh any benefit to him of remaining on earth. “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Jesus Himself stated, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:1-3.

Because of the work of Jesus, Micah is now in God’s presence. The pleasures that Micah is now enjoying make all of our greatest earthly pleasures inconsequential. “That [Micah] missed earth’s pleasures of marriage and children and food and friends do not cause him the slightest regret. He took a much shorter route to the One in whose presence is fullness of joy and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore. “ John Piper, Funeral Meditation for Owen Glenn Shramek, found at

The audacity of our Christian faith is that Micah is now better off than he ever was during his 9 months on earth. Our only hope, ultimately, lies nowhere outside of this 2,000-year old book. Our hopes for the future and our hope for significance through this otherwise meaningless, seemingly indiscriminate suffering rises and falls together with this Jesus of Nazarath, who died for our sins, who rose again from the dead on that Easter morning 2,000 years ago, and who now reigns and rules over all things, from the decisions of world leaders to little peas stuck in the throats of little boys.

1 comment:

  1. Praise Jesus. May we all continue to see the "big picture" beyond our small lives. I admire your candor and courage in trusting Him during this time. Praying that He would continue to bless you with His peace.