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Living Hope

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I had been called in to give an emergency talk to a first grade class at a school where I once interned as guidance counselor. As I entered the room, loud, desperate sobs filled the air. The homeroom teacher explained that a close relative of a student in the class was shot and killed the previous evening. The student’s mourning caused many of the other students to burst into tears as they remembered their own relatives who had been killed.

My heart was filled with heaviness to see the hopelessness in the otherwise starry-eyed little ones. What could I possibly share with them to ease the pain that had marred their hearts at such a young age? Many of the students lived in the neighboring inner-city communities, which were filled with frequent spates of violence. I was tasked with one of the most difficult subjects that all mortals must grapple with eventually: the reality of death.

As a Christian counselor, I searched my heart. Then, like a light bulb turning on, I had a strong conviction of how to approach such a sensitive subject. I shared about the hope of the resurrection.

As I began explaining to the children about the reality of seeing their loved ones again one day, I saw a marvelous transformation in their demeanor right before my eyes. Tears stopped flowing on their faces. As I continued reassuring them from the Bible, a few students even began to smile. The homeroom teacher looked on in wonder, as other attempts at comforting the students had failed before I was called.

As simple as this encounter was, it was a strong reminder of the real power that the message of Jesus’ resurrection has to give hope to the world. Oftentimes, people who grow up in the church may take for granted the relevance of this life-changing message beyond the church walls, but its ability to provide real comfort and tangible hope can never be overstated.

In my own time of grief when I lost both my grandmother and mother, my best friends, the truth of Jesus’ resurrection has sustained me to prevent deep depression. The best thing about the Resurrection is the historical truth it rests upon. Even the enemies of Jesus could not produce His body from the tomb to counteract the disciples’ testimonies. This reality distinguishes our faith from all others. Meditating on the Resurrection in my own life and in my counseling practice is a testimony that its power continues to this very day, working in our lives!

In the days we live in, finding truly good news and lasting hope can be difficult. To anyone grieving or in a rut, remember what Jesus went through. Jesus understands your suffering. He went all the way to death, but it did not stop there. The empty tomb, my class’ testimonies, and my own life’s experiences testify to the living hope of the resurrection in our lives as believers. This power brings peace now and salvation for the life to come. Will you tap into the power of Jesus’ resurrection today?

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Sonia Fay Buckland has published social commentary, prose, and poetry for national publications and audiovisual media in the Caribbean: the Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Observer, and for the Jamaica Information Service. She has played many instrumental roles, including being an active writer, pioneering a Bible distribution ministry, and hosting worship services in the elderlyÕs homes in her community. Sonia received the Outstanding Mother award, endorsed by the Ministry of Education (2002) and echoed in the testimonies of many hurting teenagers she has helped. She lives in Jamaica, West Indies.