We buried our 25 week old son today. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But we did it. My wife, our families and our church family leaned on each other and cried our way through the graveside service to close the longest weekend of my life.
How did we do it? Where did we go for strength?
One place we went was Romans 12. There Paul says, among other things, "Let love be genuine...rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and constant in prayer...weep with those who weep." The weeping was the key that led to hope. The tears helped us to know that the love was genuine. This may seem odd, but there was great encouragement for me in the tears of others. I knew they were feeling this pain with us and for us. I knew they were crying out for God's help for us and for themselves because of their tears.
More than that though, I know they are rejoicing in hope. Let's think about real hope for a moment. You see, even non-Christians can weep with one another, but rejoicing in real hope is reserved for Christians only. I don't rejoice only in the fact that the pain will get better over time. I don't rejoice only in the belief that I'll see my son again some day. No, I rejoice in the hope that is rooted in Jesus Christ. It's not even the "faith" that I trust. It is a person, Jesus Christ, that I trust. Because He has made a way for me to have a relationship with God, I can find hope in knowing that God will pour out grace upon our broken hearts.
Don't get me wrong, there is still much pain and sorrow in my heart. I fear it will be here for some time so please do not think I'm talking about a quick fix. That is not what Christ has promised us. He has, though, promised that He will not leave us. And, He has called us to love one another. So, I will rest in His faithfulness and in the trust that His people, the church, will be obedient to Him in being patient with me while in tribulation.
He is, after all, a God that keeps His promises to His people.