I was tumbling helpless, into flames of scorching fire,
Doomed to lasting torment by the devil's vile sword,
But a hand reached out to save me from a fearful fate and dire,
The only hand that could do so. The hand of Christ the Lord
The funeral was held for a young Christian man who'd died in a vehicle accident. It was a shocking sad business, losing him like that at 33 years of age, and his parents had already had some grief and trials to cope with. But the family are Christians, and they have the hope Christians all have: physical death is a departure from this world, not the end of existence. IT's a temporary separation between the person whose body has died and those left behind, who miss them. The minister conducting the service was a vibrant believer, and it showed in what he said. There was grief at that event, but there was hope too. And a large number of people were there, whose aquaintance or friendship with the man came from different times or parts of his life. So not all the attendees were Christians. One was a former school teacher and debating coach who came to pay respects.
That man is a communist. I get on well with him, because after years of arguing our different view points we respect each other. But as a communist, he definitely does not believe Christian teaching. Still, being at that funeral and seeing the people there made a deep impression on him. Near the end of the service, when the hearse had left, he said to me quietly, "I think you've got the wood on us." For those not familiar with that expression, it means having the edge. He could see that Christianity could uplift people in a way that a political ideology could not. The Holy Spirit can do what plain human inspiration cannot. I'm not gloating over him. It is itself a witness. Even an unbeliever could see how much difference it made to people that they believed Jesus, and His words, and held to the hope they gain.
Without that hope there could have been nothing but despair and an increasing weariness with life.
If I didn't have Jesus I would have become too bitter and depressed to go on living. If that family did not have Christ they could end up wishing for death themselves to be out of their misery.
I should have said to my friend, "We've haven't got the edge, Jesus gives it to us." I didn't think quickly enough, but then if I was meant to say that the Holy Spirit would have given me those words. They might have sounded too neat, or something. What I know is, the Holy Spirit showed an unbeliever something that day. I pray he took it to heart.