HE IS RISEN: our hope hinges on those three words. They are the focal point that our faith stands on. Christianity rides on the premise that Jesus has risen from the dead. If He didn't, then Jesus was either a lunatic or a liar in claiming He was the Son of God. History has proven Jesus' existence. We know He existed; almost every major religion acknowledges that Jesus Christ lived on this earth. But was He the King, the Savior of the World, that He promised to be?
After burying Bridget's body in the ground on October 27, 2014, we were faced with the reality that either Jesus was King, or He wasn't. Either He would raise her to life one day and we would see her again, or we wouldn't. If there was no God, and Jesus was not the Son of God, then presumably Bridget had no soul and she was merely a mortal being who died and went into nothingness and darkness. If that were the case, her body is simply buried below ground and there's nothing more to the story. When we die, we will be buried in the same cemetery and enter into darkness too. End of story. Close the book.
How hopeless and sad is that story? I am not implying that we should believe in God only because the alternative is hopeless and sad (and this blog post is not intended to prove God's existence). But, can you imagine how devastating that would be? Imagine grieving the loss of a child without the hope of seeing them again. If those few moments in the hospital were all you ever knew or would ever know of your child. If the pregnancy and life of your child had no meaning and no eternal purpose, your suffering and pain was all for nothing except to change your earthly life which, without God, in the end, means nothing too.
But HE IS RISEN. We do not grieve the same as those who have no hope! There is undeniable physical and historical evidence that Jesus was killed on the Cross in a public execution. There were many eyewitnesses at His death. He was taken down from the Cross and placed in a tomb covered by a large stone. But three days later, the tomb is empty! Jesus rose from the dead! When Mary Magdalene went inside the empty tomb, she wept as she saw two angels standing over where Jesus' body had been. Then she saw Jesus, but did not realize it was Him. He asked her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" She answered, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him."
Jesus said her name and she realized it was Him! She ran out to the other disciples and shouted, "I have seen the Lord!" Not only did Mary see the resurrected Jesus, but so did the disciples along with a crowd of over 500 people. People's lives were changed after they had seen Jesus overcome death--in fact, they were willing to die for Him to share His Gospel! There is overwhelming evidence that the resurrection of Christ was a real event; for more proof of the resurrection, visit this site.
I wonder as I sit over Bridget's grave and cry, if Jesus is saying to me, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? Bridget is in Heaven! She is not here! She is alive!" You see, Jesus' resurrection power is not limited to Himself. He has promised us all eternal life. He has conquered death for all of us! All we have to do is accept His gift of salvation and enter into a relationship with Him. And it is this relationship with Him, and the belief that He is who He says He is, that changes everything.
We can visit Bridget's grave knowing that one day He will lift her headstone and raise her to life. Her grave will be empty one day! It is because of Jesus that we have the hope of spending thousands and thousands of years with our daughter. It is the reason we started Bridget's Cradles knowing that this ministry is HIS ministry for His everlasting Kingdom. He has conquered the grave! He is risen!
O, death, where is your victory? O, death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ! -1 Corinthians 15:55-57
I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. -Revelation 1:18
Oh Jesus, beautiful and mighty Savior! Thank You for dying for our sins on the Cross. Thank You for taking the brutal punishment on our behalf, You who were sinless, pure, and perfect! Thank You for loving us while we were still sinners. You love us so well and You desire a relationship with us so much that You were willing to be beaten, stabbed, and nailed to a Cross. You did it because You love us! You are so mighty to save! You have prepared a home for us in Heaven where we will dwell with You forever. You desire that we would be saved and spend eternity with You and with our loved ones in a place with no more death, sin, or suffering. You have promised to wipe every tear from our eyes!
Thank You for being who You say You are. For making it plain to all who live on this earth that You are the God of the Universe (Romans 1:19), the one, true, living God. Jesus, You are worthy of all of our praise and worship. You are the King of the World, the Author of life, the Savior of our souls. You created us, fearfully and wonderfully sculpted us together in our mother's wombs. You direct our paths, give us breath each day, and will one day call us to our eternal home. We thank You for the sacrifice You made for us. We love You and we want to live for You! In Your precious name, Amen!
"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words." -1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
In the sweet and precious name of Jesus,
Written by Ashley Opliger
Bridget's Mom & Executive Director of Bridget's Cradles
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Website | www.ashleyopliger.com
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