Tomorrow, April 13, my son and hero, Trey Robert Freeman, would have been 11 years old. As many of you know, he went to be with the Lord on September 1, 2013 as a seven-year old. Trey has impacted my life in ways I will never be able to fully express.
To me, Trey will always be a little boy. I will always remember him as a five or six-year old. It is strange thinking that he would be eleven this week. I can’t imagine what it will feel like when his birthday rolls around and he would have been twenty, or forty, or beyond that. I, of course, hope the Lord returns before then, so we can all be together again, but until then, we remember, we grieve, and we celebrate.
When Trey passed away, a pastor friend said something very helpful to me. He said, “Jeremy, it’s okay to grieve, Christians just grieve differently.” That was an encouragement to me. I think sometimes Christians feel they shouldn’t grieve. Some think if they grieve they are not showing faith. That could not be further from the truth. Christians grieve, but they just grieve differently.
The Bible says that Christians grieve with hope, and because of who Jesus is and what He has done, there is great hope. Romans 5:3-4 says this, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Hope is a wonderful gift and I am thankful that, because of Jesus Christ, there is joy in my tears and comfort in my despair. While the grief is deep, our hope is deeper and greater still.
This week, as my family remembers Trey, and thinks about his life, his impact, and all the precious memories we hold in our hearts, we grieve, but we also celebrate. I cannot wait to see him again and rejoice together in the presence of God. Yes, we would have had a birthday for Trey this week, and that would have been a fun celebration, but it pales in comparison to the eternal celebration we will enjoy one day. That is something I can hardly wait to experience. Because of Jesus, death has been swallowed up in victory, and one day, all we will know is victory, for there will be no such thing as loss.
I know there are many people experiencing grief on many different levels today. Some reading this have lost a spouse, a child, a friend, etc., and it hurts. Living with emotional pain is perhaps THE hardest thing to do on this earth. I, for one, know I cannot do it on my own. I could never carry the weight of my pain on my own. If you are hurting, I encourage you to look to Jesus today. The Bible tells us that He loves us and longs for us to lay our burdens down at His feet. Take comfort in the words of Jesus when He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
As we approach Easter Sunday, there is hope because Jesus is alive. We do not have to fear anything because He has conquered sin, death, and hell. Every pain and sin we have, He took on Himself when He died on the Cross, but He showed His power over all things when He rose again. If you do not have a place to worship, I would like to invite you to our Good Friday service on April 14 at 7pm, and one of our three identical Easter Sunday morning worship services at 8, 9:30, or 11:00am. We hope to see you at First Baptist Church in Newcastle. Come celebrate the power of the Resurrection with us!
“…Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
Thank you for sharing this! 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 was my meditation verse this morning and I don’t think it was a coincidence! I needed to be reminded that there is hope in Jesus, there is victory in Jesus. I think as Christians it is easy to begin to believe that we must not show sadness or pain or disappointment or fear because that will somehow ruin our witness and show a lack of faith. But God has been teaching me that we are going to still have these negatives feelings, we’re going to fail, we’re going to be disappointed, we’re going to have sadness and pain. But that the right response is to bring these under submission to Him, to take them to the foot of the cross, and in exchange receive peace, joy, and victory. How wonderful!