Shock. Anger. Pain. Sadness. These have been our emotions over the last week. Followed by numbness. Acceptance. Celebration. And joy. The tragic death of a young friend of ours. Alex was 16. Taken suddenly. Traumatically. He was a wonderful part of our ministry. We hurt for ourselves. For his family. We hurt for his friends, our friends, as we try to deal with the pain. Wait. You may wonder. How is celebration included. Where is joy? The answer: Redemption.
God understands suffering. He sent His own son to earth. To die. For us. God knows mourning. God understands our pain. But, He can bring redemption. He will bring redemption. Jesus suffered. Died. But rose again! There is the redemption. A tragic situation. A painful death. Yet God brought good. That is redemption. God turned horror into salvation. Jesus brings life where there is death. Suffering turns into glory.
We suffer. The tragic death of a friend. The loss of a job. A loved one dies to cancer. Natural disasters take thousands. Parents divorce. Our spouses disappoint us. Our children turn away from us. Our friends desert us. Where is God? He is right there. In the midst of it all. Redemption must follow suffering. Jesus had to die. Salvation must follow death. In our weakness. He is strong.
We are drawn to God through suffering. Without pain, we wouldn’t know Him. Or His comfort. It is there that true redemption happens. God takes ugliness. He turns it into beauty. We suffer now. But we can see His work. It’s happening. All around us. He is working. His redemption is coming!
We have experienced joy. Through Alex’s death, we have seen life. We have celebrated. Life through death. Life in Christ. Life in Heaven. Even now. Our dear friend is truly living. We suffer for ourselves. But not for Alex. We envy his proximity to God. We celebrate his life. We show others. God is brought close. He is seen by those who haven’t seen before. He is accepted. He is invited.
Through Alex’s death, life is accomplished. That is redemption.