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Beauty on Rust

Death Grief Comfort

Contributed By: Scott Roberts | Date Posted: 2015-06-19

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:4

Author: Scott Roberts
3

ILLUSTRATION

The trip was unplanned. I had received a phone call from a close friend telling me his 15 year old daughter was about to die. In a few short hours, my family and I were on the road for a grueling 24 continuous hours of driving in order to be with my friend and his family.  

While driving and praying and crying I looked out my window somewhere in southern Washington and saw the train tracks near the river in the valley below.  On the tracks sat rusty old boxcars, one after another, when suddenly, a series of cars brightened up that morning sky. They had been hit by graffiti artists, but instead of the normal tagging so common in the inner city, these were truly works of art.  Each car was decorated with beautiful colors. Each car stepped off the tracks and opened up a new world of possibility and color. At that moment, I remember being struck by the raw beauty painted upon the rusty shells of the old cars.

APPLICATION

Death, loss, grief and such are like that. For the longest time they seem just that - dreary and blah. They take their toll on our souls and rightly so. But then, God is able to shine into the darkness and paint new pictures over our pain, over our suffering, over our crying and tears, and he uses that new scene to comfort others who are coming into their own dark places.  

We comfort with the comfort we ourselves have received. Does the pain disappear? No, the rusty veneer is still beneath. But does hope grant us a new vantage point from which to see and serve? Certainly. This is the wonder of the gospel. Death is swallowed up in victory and light triumphs over darkness.  

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT).

A Firm Foundation

Hope Atheism Grief

Source: Mysticism And Logic, pp. 47-48 (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1917).

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Mike Sechler | Date Posted: 2015-02-09

Scripture: Job 1:21 ; Revelation 21:3

Author: Mike Sechler
2

ILLUSTRATION

Russell famously wrote this about the meaning of life:

"That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins--all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built."

APPLICATION

Bertrand Russell once said that “no one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and believe in God.” Well I beg to differ. My faith is the thing that strengthened me. How else can I make it through? We cannot do anything else. This fire drains away everything else.

My question for the famous atheist Bertrand Russell is this: What would you say to a grieving father like me? What answer do you have? Only a God infused hope for a better world can provide a firm foundation upon which to build a life, as well as overcome the despair of death.

No firm foundation can be found in a meaningless universe, and that is no more evident then when facing the death of a loved one.

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised" (Job 1:21).

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away'” (Revelation 21:3-4).

Buried Grief

Grief Bitterness Comfort

Source: Preaching Today, Sermon Tape #108

Contributed By: John Reed | Date Posted: 2015-01-02

Author: Bill Hybels
11

ILLUSTRATION

"Fifty years ago industrialists thought they could just bury toxic waste and it would go away. We have since learned it doesn't just go away. It makes trouble. It leaks into the water table, contaminates crops, and kills animals."

Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. Hybels received a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill.

APPLICATION

"Buried grief does the same thing. Raw time doesn't heal a thing. Buried pain leaks into our emotional system and wreaks havoc there. It distorts our perceptions of life, and it taints our relationships. That contamination happens subconsciously."

Repackaging Death

Death Comfort Grief

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-06-16

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Have A Good Cry--You'll Feel Better

Grief Confession Sin

Contributed By: | Date Posted: 2012-05-26

Scripture: John 11:35 ; Matthew 5:4

Author: Faith Dillon
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Grief Tasted But Not Wasted

Grief Marriage Prayer

Contributed By: Rod Crowell | Date Posted: 2012-03-27

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:7

Author: Bob Wiens
4

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Good Grief or Good Acting?

Grief Love (Divine) Oppression

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2011-12-24

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:2

Author: Illustration Exchange
1

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The Generous Thief

God's Promises Death Resurrection

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2019-05-01

Scripture: John 11:25 ; Job 1:21

Author: Stephen Kingsley
3

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First World Problems? No Problem!

Suffering Comfort Patience

Contributed By: Rob Tucker | Date Posted: 2019-01-19

Scripture: Philippians 2:7 ; James 1:2

Author: Rob Tucker
2

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What Job Knew

Humility Trust (In God) Suffering

Contributed By: Corey Sawyers | Date Posted: 2018-09-08

Scripture: Job 19:25 ; Job 40:1

Author: Corey Sawyers
5

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