The phone ringing jarred us awake early in the morning. I answered and heard my daughter on the other end, "Dad, can you and Mom come quick because Gabriel has been killed! Two chaplains are here!" That was ten years ago this year (8/20/06). Her husband, Sgt. Gabriel De Roo, had been killed in action by enemy fire in Mosul, Iraq.
The weeks following were filled with sorrow. Hundreds of people called, came by, emailed or sent cards. Ten services were held from here to Mosul to eulogize the sacrifice of Sgt. De Roo. Then last week the phone rang again and this time it was my brother announcing the death of his beloved wife. Sorrow came our way again. We live in a world that still feels the effects of sin and death even as believers.
The hope of eternal life is comforting through it all for those in Christ. Scripture says, Christ's sacrificial death paid for the sin of all who would turn to Him in repentance and faith (I Pet. 3:18). Sgt. De Roo exercised that faith and lived it as a true hero. He told his men that if anyone had to die first he would prefer it be him so they could have more time to get right with God. Amazingly, he was the first to die in that deployment. My sister-in-law Pat also had come to that same kind of faith in Christ and knew complete forgiveness. One thing has sustained us above all others in these kind of losses. It is the future hope of the first Easter 2,000 years ago when Christ was resurrected from the grave. We relive, sing and preach about that event each spring because it authenticated who Christ said He was, truly God. It was the miracle of miracles. It changed the apostles and history.
Christ was raised to also show there is a promise of future resurrection. He promises to come back again and raise those who have died in Him. I Corinthians 15:20 says Christ is the "first fruits" of those who are asleep. In that future Easter the dead in Christ will rise (I Cor. 15:51ff). Believers have hope because we live between these two Easters.
Christ's resurrection is also a sobering reminder there is also a resurrection coming of all unbelievers to disgrace and everlasting contempt (Dan. 12:2; Mat. 25:46; Jn. 5:28, 29). Which resurrection will you be in?
Life can be painful when we face death. But life here is only preparation for life to come. We will see loved ones in Christ again in the resurrection to life in glorified bodies. That is a hope that does not fade away and gives strength to go on. That is a hope that our church celebrates this Easter through our special art show, music and the timeless message of hope for eternity found in the New Testament.
Join us for...
- Good Friday at 7 PM as we remember Christ's death for us on the cross.
- Easter morning worship at 8:30 or 10:45 to celebrate Christ's resurrection.
- Sea of Galilee breakfast fellowship at 9:45 between the services. Bring a snack to share and join in the fellowship. If you can't make it then watch on Livestream at our website www.DiscoveryBaptist.orghttp://www.DiscoveryBaptist.org.
Twice Alive, Pastor Mark