Ruth’s mother peacefully passed away early Thursday (April 11) morning. Ruth sat with her during the last two days of her mother’s life, holding her hand and talking to her though we weren’t sure if she was hearing. Of all the struggles we go through in life, losing a loved one probably hurts the most. Those of you who have lost a family member know what I’m talking about when I say that it is a time of enormous mixed emotions. You can’t believe it is happening and yet you know it is real; there are no instant replays in life. In the case of Ruth’s mother you know it is for the best, however, that doesn’t make it easy or even seem right, but it is the cycle of life and death.

Ruth and her three brothers, Don, Jerry, and Mike had the privilege of growing up with a great Christian mother who spent her life encouraging and supporting her children on their journeys. She was a rare person who never stopped smiling and had a kind word for everyone.  Have you ever wondered what people will say about you when you’re gone? We live our lives and then they are over and what we did with that life while we were here determines our future.

People who have no faith face a bleak concept of life. All you can do is live for the here and now, then everything is over. I suppose that is why so many people clamor so hard to get ahead, seek financial success and fame, because in their minds that is all there is. For a Christian we see things, hopefully, from a different perspective. Our lives here are important and though we are as interested in success as the next guy, that is not the sum of our life. The spiritual component is of even greater importance because we feel that is what defines us and who we are.

Life for a Christian shouldn’t be about who has the biggest house, the largest boat and can take the most vacations, but instead, our vision is focused on our relationship with God. We are defined by God’s love that seeks us, surrounds us with compassion and holds us through the roughest times. Our hope is based on the fact that we are loved unconditionally and redeemed by the grace and mercy of God through the cross and resurrection. We look forward to a further life where joy, peace and love reign supreme and the struggles and pain of this life will be no more.

For Ruth’s mother, when she closed her eyes for the last time this morning, it wasn’t the end. Her life in a sense is just beginning because when she opens her eyes she will see Jesus. That is the hope of one and a half billion Christians around the world.

So, here’s the question each of us has to ask ourselves, why would I want to live my life without that hope? What would be the point of going through life just to die? Would it not make more sense to go through life trusting in God? If the Bible is true, and I believe it is, then the future holds unlimited life and peace. What has this beat up world got to offer that would turn us away from that reality?