INVOCATION: Dear Jesus, may I be still and aware of Your enduring promise to me as I abide with You in this Holy Now.

My child, I have told you that your time here on earth is breathtakingly short. The writer of Ecclesiastes says a person’s life is “like a vapor”—you are here today and gone tomorrow. But I have also promised that death does not have the final say. Death no longer holds any power over you. I was crucified, buried, and resurrected on the third day to conquer death’s reign. If you believe in Me, you will truly live forever. And My promise of eternal life isn’t something you must wait for; it begins right here and now in the very breath you take as you read My words.

So take up your cross, follow Me, and you will be released from death’s final hold on you.

I have promised I will walk alongside you every step, through every new door, and be with you through every new trial. You may not have personally experienced the death of someone close to you, but death is a constant companion hovering over you and those you love. Death is near even when you are too young to see or feel it.

One day, I approached a town with My disciples where a widow was watching her only son’s coffin being carried in a funeral procession. My heart immediately went out to this mother. I knew the questions she was struggling with after the difficult loss of her husband. I understood that she was grief-stricken and wondering why her son also had to die. Oh, how My heart breaks for every father and mother who loses a child! After I consoled her, I commanded the young man to get up. He immediately sat up and began to talk, and I gave him back to his mother.

Later, I mourned with Mary and Martha when their brother, Lazarus, died. He was a dear friend to Me, and I felt their distress deeply. I wept. When you are devastated by someone’s death, I am fully present and share your tears. Even though I knew Lazarus was with My Father, I still cried with grief. But I wanted to demonstrate to My followers how I had been given complete authority to conquer death. I simply stood outside his tomb and shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And My dear friend emerged in his grave clothes.

My child, I endured the cross in order to end death’s grip on you. I have told you that suffering and dying are the results of a world that has fallen because of those who chose to leave the Way of Love. Your life ahead will be full of joy and pain, grief and celebration, birthdays and funerals. However, do not let the heartaches take away your zeal for living an eternal quality of life. Life is still a gift to be cherished amid all the hardship. (When I go Away)

My child, if you believe in Me, you will someday pass from this world and into My abiding presence. In your final moments on earth, I will hold you in My arms. When the stone was rolled away from My tomb, death’s final day of sovereignty in this world was ended. Death has been rendered forever powerless in the triumph of My resurrection. My promise to you was fulfilled as I rose on that third day; you and your loved ones shall live with Me beyond the grave. So go boldly into each day without fear that death has the final word. Follow Me and you can truly exclaim, “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?”

REFLECTION

Sometimes, in the midst of pain and suffering, it can be difficult to remember that Christ has defeated death. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one this moment, be fully present in that grief, and know that Christ is present with you as well. Our resurrection faith does not deny death and suffering; it simply acknowledges the deep truth that death is not final for those who live in Jesus. God made us to have a relationship with one another. If someone dear to you has died, you may never be the same person again on this side of eternity. Take heart; Jesus weeps with you and offers you His strength and the promise that death doesn’t have the last word! How can Jesus’ promise of eternal life give you the courage to really live? What does it mean to you that eternal life begins right now at this moment? How has your fear of death kept you from truly living? How can you offer Christ’s comfort to those who are going through this type of pain?

DAILY PRAYER

Lord Jesus, thank You for taking my sins to the cross and ending the reign of death when You rose from the grave. Help me to carry my grief for people who have died and to rejoice that they are now with You. Give me the strength to reach out to others who are going through this type of sorrow. Renew my heart so that I may embrace the eternal quality of life You have promised me. Amen.

TODAY’S BLESSING

May your losses gently guide you into new ways of loving and caring for yourself and others. May you hold the promise of Christ’s abiding presence tightly even though the pathway forward is never easy. May you embrace the richness of what each moment of this life holds until the heavenly Father welcomes you home.