I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” – Revelation 21: 3-4 (NLT) Whenever we lose someone it is a test of our faith. When that person leaves us in a senseless act of violence or seemingly before their time, that test is even greater. When both of those factors come into play it is a good thing that God says He is close to those who are crushed in Spirit. Such is the feeling today as the news has broken about the passing of Sarai Sierra, murdered while traveling abroad in Turkey. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends who had hoped beyond hope that she would return alive. Sometimes the answers to our prayers is “no” and we have to trust God even more at those moments. The devil would love nothing more than to shake someone’s faith at a time like this. I just want us to remember three truths today as we seek His presence for comfort and transcendent peace. The first thing I want us to remember is that Sarai is in a better place. I know we all say things like this at times like this but for believers there should be a reassurance that our best life is yet to come when we see Jesus face to face. The Bible says to absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Sometimes we simply value this life too much. It is understandable as it is all we know but our faith is in the fact that Jesus has overcome this life for us. He has defeated death on our behalf. He has assured us of an eternal life reunited with our Creator. Our sadness is for the loss that we suffer as friends and family members but make no mistake about it – Sarai is in the arms of Jesus today. Secondly, I want us to remember that nothing and no one escapes the judgment of God: For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. – 2Corinthians 5: 10 (NLT) God sees everything beloved. He hears everything. He is just when it comes to everything. He cannot deny His own nature. The devil would love to use the expected human reaction of anger to plant a seed of discord inside of us. A seed of rage or bitterness. The Bible tells us there is no need for such. Vengeance belongs to the Lord. The difficult truth is our responsibility is to pray for people who are so consumed with evil that they could commit an act such as this with seemingly no remorse. The devil has control of this world and we are on the other side of the battle lines – praying and using spiritual weapons of war to destroy his plans. We do not fight as the world fights with anger and fury. We fight knowing that the age old answer to the Psalmist about why the wicked prospers - is that they do not. We have faith in the God we serve and stand knowing that no one escapes His justice and His judgment. Our peace is found in Him. Lastly, I want us to remember that the time grows short. Anytime someone leaves us in such a manner it should remind us all about the fragility of life. That our life is but a vapor as the Bible teaches us. The devil likes to convince us that we always have tomorrow but that is simply untrue. We should all hold the people we love a little closer today. We need to appreciate the people God has given us. The key verses remind us about how glorious that day will be when God walks amongst His people again. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Even the tears of joy from seeing Sarai again. For there will be no more death, sorrow crying or pain. Can you imagine that beloved? No more tears. No more pain. No more sorrow. No more death. Sarai has not left us – she just got ahead of us. Rev. Anthony.