He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” - Revelation 21: 4 (ESV) As a minister life can be very frustrating when the answers people seek cannot be found. When that medical report comes back with bad news. When that job is lost after decades of loyal service. When a child dies. Does God still love us? Absolutely. Does God still have a future laid out for us? Absolutely. The usual Christian-isms don't ease the pain however. The usual truths we know about the Bible and the God we serve seem to ring a bit hollow. In time they will regain their power in our lives but right now we are trying to deal with something we shouldn't have to. We have to deal with the unthinkable. When a child dies. Kalie Gill was only 15 years old. Adored by her family and loved by her friends, Kalie's journey in this life ended this past Friday when she was struck by an out of control SUV at a church carnival in Yonkers. All reports indicate that the woman behind the SUV is not at fault. There was either a medical issue or a car malfunction. Not that blame eases the pain either. Only God can. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34: 18 (ESV) Brokenhearted. Crushed in spirit. God understands. God watched His only Son die as well. We all know this as Christians but in the midst of pain and loss we can tend to brush these truths aside because the present situation is just so unfathomable. So unfair. So when I prayed about what to write, God led me to the key verse above because the future is where our pain can be eased. The present pain needs to be balanced by the promises God has made to us all about the future - for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. The key verse comes from the Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John. It is His revelation to us about what the future kingdom of God will be like and within this verse are some important promises for us to try and hold onto through the periods of pain we will have in this life. God promises that the tears that flow so easily in this lifetime - He will wipe away from our eyes. He will take that sorrow away from us beloved. In a world where sorrow seems to be perpetually crouching at the door this promise should provide some real comfort. Not the fleeting comfort this world offers which is shattered so easily and so often. Here is how the Prophet Isaiah described this day: In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow.The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,for as the waters fill the sea,so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord. - Isaiah 11: 6-9 (NLT) In addition to wiping away every tear, God promises us that death shall be no more. We will not have to worry about the finality of our current estate. This life is but a vapor according to the Book of James but eternity is forever! We hold a promise from God for eternal life that should give us some comfort amidst the uncertainty this current life brings. Jesus rising from the grave on the third day secures this promise for us. With the removal of the sting of death and the wiping of every tear God promises us that there will be no more mourning. No more times to have to bury someone so young and say goodbye so soon. No more crying and no more pain beloved because as the key verse promises - the former things have passed away. This life of suffering will have passed away. This world that can seem so harsh and so unfair will have passed away. What will be left is the world that Isaiah spoke about. Where the natural enemies of this world will lie down next to each other. Where God Himself will wipe away what tears remain. These are the promises we must hold onto, especially during times of such great tragedy and loss. We are all on loan to each other from God. If anything, it is times of such great loss that should remind us the importance of holding onto what we love tighter than ever before. The devil has convinced most of us that we always have tomorrow. We always have tomorrow to tell the people in our lives that we love them. Then one day we wake up and tomorrow has come. I saw a preacher once say that we need to start giving the people in our lives flowers while they are alive. I couldn't agree more. We need to appreciate the people in our lives today for tomorrow is promised to no one. Our lives are not about our careers, our favorite sports teams, or the pursuit of wealth. None of that stuff matters in the end. Our lives are made up of the people God has given us. When I think of the tragic death of Kalie Gill, I just want to hold on tighter to what God has given me. I wish I had all the answers but only God does. I wish that my words can bring some solace or comfort but I know at the end of the day they are just mere words. Only God has the words of eternal life and the promises that can bring some genuine hope in a world that sometimes seems like it has gone mad. Kalie's father is my cousin Damien and I pray for peace to reign in this time of sorrow. The peace that only God can provide: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4: 4-7 (NIV) The Lord is near Damien. The peace God has will transcend our mere mortal understanding. I pray that it guards your heart and mind and those of our whole family in Christ Jesus. Rest in peace Kalie Gill. Rest in peace. Rev. Anthony.