Whenever we passed a park, when I was a kid, I shifted into nagging mode to get my dad to stop, because I loved the swings. Didn’t do that spinning carousel thing. No, never did enjoy throwing up. Then, the seesaw. That was fun. Yeah.
Of course, there was little Ronnie and big Daddy, it didn’t work too well. I kept ending up somehow with my end of the seesaw suspended in the air as my dad thought it was funny just to sit there with his end on the ground for a while. Yeah, he thought that was fun. Now here’s what was really not fun – having no one on the other end. You just sit there with your end of that thing on the ground and nothing on the other end to lift you up. That’s what happened to my dad the night of the greatest loss of his life.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Two Broken Men, One Big Difference.”
Whenever you lose someone or something important to you, it triggers one of the most intense, potentially most destructive emotions there is. Grief. I was overwhelmed with it on the day in May when that became the worst day of my life. That’s the day my Karen, the love of my life since I was 19, was suddenly gone. How could I have known the night before when I told her I loved her as I left for a trip, that I’d never be able to tell her that again?
For my dad, it was that night when I was four, when he and my mom left our little apartment in a panic to get my baby brother to the hospital. I never saw him again. The doctors couldn’t do anything for little Steven. Six months old – he was gone.
I saw my dad totally crushed and devastated. Unable to recover. Crying all the time. Today I’d say he was inconsolable.
In my dad’s unspeakable loss – and years later in mine – we were both broken men. Both with many tears. But as I compare my grief to what I saw in my dad, there’s one massive difference. Hope. Because in my darkest hour, I had my relationship with Jesus. My dad had nowhere to turn.
He was “on the ground” with nothing on the other side to lift him up. But, praise God, the day I lost the love of my life, Jesus was there with His unloseable love enveloping my wounded heart.
That’s the difference in knowing Jesus, spelled out in 1 Thessalonians 4:13. It’s our word for today from the Word of God. Where Paul says to some grieving people who belong to Jesus: “You do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” He goes on to say “for we believe that Jesus died and rose again.”
Eventually, in his grief, my dad started dropping me off to go to Sunday School at a nearby church. That’s where I learned how much Jesus loved me. So much that He died on an awful cross to pay for every bad thing I’ve ever done or that you’ve ever done. And then three days later He crushed death as He walked out of His grave! One Sunday I came running out to the car and I gushed, “Daddy, today I asked Jesus in my heart.” I know he didn’t understand. But a few months later he did, and he came with all his sin and his brokenness to the only One who could forgive and heal – Jesus.
Here’s the difference between someone who’s listening right now who’s begun a relationship with Jesus and someone who hasn’t. With Jesus, yes, you grieve. But there’s something on the other side of the scale – hope. Jesus. With His love, with His heaven, without Jesus, it’s just the agony of grief with nothing on the other side to lift you up. Hurt with hope or hurt without hope.
If you’re doing life; if you’re doing heartbreak and death without Jesus in your heart, I pray today will be the day you reach out to Him and say, “Jesus, I’m Yours.” I would love to help you get that settled. Just go and check out our website with this life-giving information there. Go to ANewStory.com.
So much loss. So much hurt. But, oh, there’s hope. And hope has a name. His name is Jesus.