Two months ago, my family and I laid my father, Paul Decker, to rest after he unexpectedly died of advanced pancreatic cancer on Nov. 13, 2017 — three days after his diagnosis.
The holidays were obviously different for our family, knowing Dad was gone. It is not only unique for us, but for thousands of others who lost a loved one in 2017.
After we buried my father and traveled back home to Kansas from Ohio, death visited again.
Within days, I found myself standing next to a friend in a hospital bed who had just lost her husband in a horrific vehicle accident, in which she also received multiple injuries. No one is immune.
If you are in a situation like this, where can you find hope in this New Year?
As you see others dancing the night away or having good times with family and friends, you might feel an emptiness because a spouse or parent is gone and not coming back.
On that November Monday night, at 10 p.m., I received a call I never will forget.
My mother, in shock and in the deepest of tears, told me Dad was gone.
As I hit the floor in overwhelming despair, nearly 1,000 miles away, I soon was drawn to pick up my Bible.
I flipped to 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 and read it for myself, and to my mom and sisters via cell phone:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Within minutes, Jesus’ relationship with me and His Word were giving me grace-filled hope.
The hurt did not stop, nor the tears dry up. Even so, Jesus and His Word became my rock. My refuge. My sustaining hope.
Furthermore, additional hope was found in the story of my father’s life.
On Sept. 3, 1972, during the last night of a series of camp meeting services in New York, he surrendered to Jesus and became a new man, and then a year later was called by God to be a pastor.
For 34 years, my dad pastored churches throughout the Great Plains and Midwest.
Knowing Dad trusted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and served Him, gives me hope.
The grace of God that saved him, kept him and took him to his eternal home, assures me that one day, by that same grace, I will see him again.
Jesus’ relationship with me, His holy Word and the life-changing story of my dad are my sustaining hope.
If you are facing death or grieving someone who has died, where is your hope?
Start out 2018 with a commitment to Christ.
Let His grace wash you clean of all you have ever done wrong. Surrender your life to Him. Time is short. Do it now.
Live each day to its fullest for the glory of God and the good of others.
Clint Decker is president and evangelist with Great Awakenings, Inc. Since 1990, he has reached more than 2.5 million people with his message of hope. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him toll-free at (877) 433-3220.