“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” ~ 1 Peter 1:3 (NASB)
We have just finished celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Not only does this give us, who trust Christ as a Savior, the promise of our own resurrection but also the resurrection of our Christian loved ones who have already died. This issue of Footprints Ministry is going to focus on Sibling Grief so I want to tell you about my sister who died in the mid-seventies.
First a little background: my parents divorced by the time I was a year old. After much moving around, I wound up with my father in Alabama where he remarried when I was about 5 years old. He and my stepmother had two children: Hank and Chris. Because my father liked to party & my stepmother was an ex-Catholic, they decided none of us children would be allowed to go to church.
However, the new family in which we found ourselves was matriarchal and the Matriarch was a member of one of the American cults. I got coerced into joining them when I was about 10 years old. So I found myself going door to door, giving religious speeches etc. When I was about 13, I realized some of their practices were very deceptive and broke away. This caused great controversy with the Matriarch (whom I loved; she never did accept Christ to my knowledge), my aunts & the rest of the family – I became the “black sheep.” I decided if this is what having a religion meant, I wanted no part of it, “God” (if He existed), church, etc.
In order to prevent my cousins, brother & sister from rebelling against the cult, the family enmeshed them deeply in it. The Matriarch was determined none of them would escape like I did.
After I left home and married, my sister, Chris, rebelled against everything: the cult, parental authority, and school – all of it. In desperation, the family even sent her to live with my family, but Chris rebelled against me because I was another authority figure & so I had to send her back home.
To defy everyone, Chris decided to attend a Baptist church! The message of Christ got through to her and she accepted Him as Savior. Later she married a Christian man she met at church and they started a family. Because of the hard feelings left when I had left the cult, several years went by before I reestablished contact with the family. When I did, Chris & her husband tried to encourage us to go to church with them; they didn’t know how to present the gospel to us then. I just laughed at them, called her husband “Bibleback,” etc.
When I was 35 years old. I heard the gospel clearly for the first time & became a Christian. Chris had become one about 10 years before. After I understood what being a Christian really meant, I told Chris & her family of the changes in my life and apologized for the ugly things I had said. On one of their visits to us in SC, we agreed that the next Christmas our two families would get together and rejoice in what we shared. A week later, Chris was dead! At the young age of 29 years, her organs were those of an old woman. My four kids were stunned when I openly and uncontrollably sobbed.
I still miss Chris. But, because of the blessed hope we have because of Christ’s resurrection, I know I’ll see Chris again. Whoeeee! (That’s a shout of joy). Can you say the same about your faith? If you’re not sure, why not say a prayer something like this: “Jesus, I know I’m a sinner. I ask you to forgive me of my sins & become my Savior.” Now you, too, have the blessed hope!”
“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. I say to God my Rock, why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” ~ Psalm 42:7.9.11