The land is flat around Joplin, Missouri. And then after the great tornado that hit there, much of the town was leveled by that F-5. It was just heartbreaking devastation as far as the eye could see. But you know what? In the midst of all that devastation, there was still one thing still standing. A reporter commented on it as the camera scanned across this sea of wreckage, and you couldn’t miss it. It was a cross, and his words went right to my heart, “The church is gone, but the cross is still standing.”

I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Still There After the Storm.”

My mind flashed back to a brutally painful funeral that I attended years ago. It was on an Indian reservation; it was in this windswept graveyard out in the middle of nowhere. The young man we buried died a sudden and violent death. He’d been on one of our Native teams actually. And as Indian men filed by that open grave to throw that handful of dirt on a coffin, I watched that young man’s brother, who we knew and loved very well. I watched him do something he seldom if ever did. He was weeping.

But there was a simple rugged, wooden cross at the head of that open grave. And this grieving brother was hanging onto that cross and hugging it like it was his only hope. His brother was gone, but the cross was still standing. It was still there for him to hang onto with everything he had.

Well, our word for today from the Word of God is from Hebrews 6:19. The cross of Jesus has been, for millions, the only hope still standing after the storm has leveled everything else. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. I’ve seen it in my own life when the love of my life since I was 19 was suddenly gone, but the cross was still there. Your health is gone, maybe your job is gone, your money is gone, your anchor person is gone, all medical hope is gone, but still, there is in Jesus as it says in this verse, “this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

The cross still stands, proclaiming that God still loves me when it’s too dark to see His face. The cross is there, assuring me I’m forgiven when the guilt and the regret are trying to drag me into their pit. The cross remains, reminding me that Jesus has beaten death when death seems to be winning. The cross stands tall, declaring “This is not the end. There is a future beyond this darkness, and I’ll be there to build that future with you.”

I wonder, have you ever personally gone to that cross where Jesus loved you so very much that He bled and died for your sin? Have you ever gone there and said those two words that make this cross your anchor; your one sure thing, the words, “Jesus, for me”? In the words of the Bible, “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” Have you ever gone and said, “Jesus, I believe what You did there was for my sin, and I no longer want to live one more day without You in my life. I want to be forgiven, and only You can do that. I want to go to heaven, and only You can take me there. I want the hole in my heart filled, and it was made by You and for You, and only You can fill it. So, Jesus, beginning today I’m yours.”

I’ve put on our website in several forms some information that will show you how to begin life’s most important relationship on the road to that cross and on the road to being forgiven. The website is ANewStory.com. I pray you’ll check it out today soon.

Yeah, life has its nearly unbearable Good Fridays. But Good Friday isn’t the end. Remember, it’s the long night before the blazing sun of Easter morning.