• Eldon Peterson

Enduring lose through faith


As a kid, there are few things that we look forward to more than summer vacation. Summer vacation not only means the end of the school year but the start of the endless possibilities of summer. However for some, before the summer begins, those dreams will be modified and even remain unwritten. A single sobering event can cause their dreams and hopes to fade like the cool mornings. This was true for the family of recent Mountain Crest graduate Francisco Hilera who drowned last week as he was enjoying the start of his summer with friends at Cutler Dam.

A week earlier, I had received a call from an ER in Oregon telling me that my daughter was thrown from a horse and had suffered a concussion. While my wife and son were able to drive through the night to offer support and help to my daughter, there was no hopeful drive to the hospital for Francisco’s family.

What are we to do at times like this? Either we can yield to despair or we can stand in hope. How can we stand in hope in such hopeless circumstances? By looking to Christ. Simply knowing that pain and suffering and death are all part of this life will not make us ready to face tragic circumstances like these. It is never easy to receive such a call; it is especially difficult when it is unexpected.

My wife was staying with her sister when she called saying that her sister had lost her battle with cancer; it was sad but not unexpected. When an elderly parent or grandparent dies, we can celebrate the long life that we shared and find joy and comfort in this. However, when someone dies before their life has hardly begun, all we have are questions.

Maybe we know that our answers can be found by looking to Christ, but in our pain and lose we may be tempted by doubt. What answers can come from such a senseless death? However, in our question we are assuming that we would have peace if we had answers. In truth, rather than finding peace, we are likely to encounter only more questions making it difficult to rejoice in the life we shared.

This is not to say that there are not answers. However, demanding to know why a young man should die at the start of his life fails to acknowledge the wonderful blessings and joys that we shared with him during his short life. For all who die unexpectedly in car accidents or acts of violence, for those killed by disease or war –there is never a good time for the young to die! What then is the answer? Maybe the answer is for us to remember that the only sure place to find hope is in the Lord and in the salvation that cannot be taken.

Paul tells us that, “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2) Our questions should cause us to draw nearer to God, knowing that the Lord is big enough to carry whatever burden we bring to Him. Are we angry, confused, hurting? Then we need to come to him for he has promised to give us the strength we lack.

Avoiding the subject of death will not equip us to walk in its shadow. Instead, we need to face it with faith. We need to stand in the promise that Hebrews 9 testifies of, that Jesus “appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” (26-28)

We can find great hope in the testimony of faith that Francisco shared with those he knew. While no one can offer answers to make sense of tragic deaths like this, we can rest in the assurance and hope that was his in Christ. What is this hope? That Christ has destroyed “the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil— and freed those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)


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