Some of us know what it’s like to experience the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one. We look back at our last visit with someone — the last memory with them that we didn’t know would be the last memory at the time. Often we regret things left unsaid and opportunities lost. Most of us learn from this and try to make the most of what time we do have with the people we love, never taking those times for granted again.
Even though things are opening up more right now in this seemingly never-ending pandemic, I know more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than any other time. It’s a strange feeling. As some are barely clinging to their lives, I have no ability to even communicate with them right now, and certainly can’t see them in person.
Some of us have stories like this with loved ones lost to COVID-19. We weren’t allowed to be near them when they needed us. Some of us weren’t even allowed a proper funeral for them. These are certainly difficult times for many of us.
Similarly in the first century, a small number of people gathered in a home, isolated, fearing much interaction with others. It seemed that going out in public could risk each of their lives, so they self-quarantined. They had already tragically lost loved ones, and were deeply saddened, feeling lost and hopeless. It appeared there was no peace in that home, and the heaviness must have been so overwhelming to each of them.
In just a matter of days they had lost one of their own to suicide, and another to a cruel and public execution. The person who committed suicide was one of their skillfully trained leaders. The one executed was their leader.
When life seemed like it was nothing but doom and gloom, an unexpected thing happened. They were told by others their leader, Jesus, had risen from the dead, but they weren’t fully convinced. Then, He actually appeared amongst them. When he did, He said, “Peace be with you (Luke 24:36).” He reminded them it was prophesied long ago He would die and rise again to life. This comforted them, and He left them with peace.
Fast-forward to today, a time when peace can be hard to find, a time when life is so uncertain. We are at a time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead — to grant us a better place in heaven – if we choose to live our lives on earth for Him. When you go about this Resurrection weekend, let Jesus words ring true in your life, “Peace be with you.”
The current struggles we are enduring with this pandemic and all the other stresses of life – these are all temporary. Don’t lose focus of the goal ahead of us. Keep living for Christ no matter how hard the struggles become. He conquered death for us, so we can have the opportunity to live at peace for eternity. Be encouraged this Resurrection weekend. Draw near to Him and He will care for you.
And while we’re dwelling on such spiritual things, remember to make the most of every opportunity with the people you love. No one is guaranteed another opportunity with people we love, so cherish the moments and don’t leave anything unsaid. Being wise with your time like that can help you sleep better at night for sure, knowing you did your best to make the most of your time.
Peace be with you!
See Ephesians 5:15-21.
Pastor Jeff Adams is a professional Christian counselor who travels the world teaching but serves our community. His column appears weekly. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.