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Where Is Our Hope … And Who Is It In?


Today is the 24th anniversary of our daughter, Vanessa’s death. It’s never an easy day but we have some very special routines built into every June 16th. One of those, of course, is to visit Vanessa’s grave site and just reflect on her life. As we sat there in the morning heat, Jan broke our private silence. “You know,” she said, with a couple of snags in her voice “this was the beginning of our Metamorphyx.” By that she meant a monumental personal trial we had to endure (and then embrace!) that led to radical change in our lives … and ultimately helped steer us to life purpose.

cross-distanceAs the 11:00AM sun baked us in front of Vanessa’s gravesite this morning, my eyes drifted to an image I have never seen before – and I’ve been to this hallowed patch of grass perhaps 200 times! Across the far side of the cemetery, perfectly positioned dead-center between two pine trees and dozens of grave markers, was a statue of Jesus carrying his cross. On that stone-hewn path were also statues of two Roman Centurions, one with his plaster arm broken off.

My eyes laser focused on the scene. Then my mind started to churn. Of course, I knew where Jesus was going. The Roman soldiers were only accompanying him to the Cross – Jesus had already chosen to go there. From my position in the cemetery, I could not see the Calvary Hill destination, but from dozens of visits over the decades, I vividly recalled that the two thieves were already hoisted up on their respective cement crosses. They were awaiting Jesus. I thought for a minute, “Is that the how it went down … were they waiting on Jesus?” I really don’t know the crucifixion ‘sequence’ and I’m not sure the Bible tells us.

crossAnd then I whispered to Jan. “We know where Jesus was going, but we can’t see it from here. If he didn’t go there, our hope to see Vanessa again would be an idiot’s dream. That’s more or less the same question that Jesus asked Martha (John 11:17-26) after telling her, Your brother will rise again. Do you believe this?”

We do.

“Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, and the certainty of what we cannot see,” (Hebrews 11:1)


5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lynn Brockman #

    I can close my eyes today and see that beautiful girl. She will always be with us. I love you both.

    June 16, 2016
  2. Katie Fenger #


    June 17, 2016
  3. tabitha #

    Tom, your reflections are awesome!! Learning to endure our hardships, embrace it and allow God to shape us to what he wants us to be, and use the same circumstances of pain to minister to others who need a word of hope in their difficult circumstances!

    June 17, 2016
  4. Helen James #

    Thank you, Tom, for sharing this. It is so true that the pain that Christ endured for us gives a comfort to us in our pain that the world can never give. We are not alone……Thank God for choosing pain for us!

    June 17, 2016
  5. Isaa Idambo #

    Hi pastor Tom,ever intresting to listern to the inner man and relate the power of Our faith in Our Lord Jesus and the life today ,thanks

    June 17, 2016

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