Last week I spent some time thinking about the empty phrases we often use to comfort each other when things are hard. In light of those thoughts I thought it would be of benefit to re-post one of last year’s blog entries.
Keri and I were sitting in Taco Bueno with the kids eating dinner this past weekend when the old song, “Rock a Bye” by Shawn Mullins started playing (remember, the song where the guy basically just talks during the verses and then kicks it into high falsetto during the chorus). You may remember it because the chorus just repeats the phrase, “Everything is gonna be alright” over and over. After the song had been playing for a bit, Keri said, “Do you remember when you were a kid how comforting it was to have your mom or dad hug you and tell you ‘it’s gonna be alright’ after you hurt yourself or got scared?”
Her question got me thinking about how we comfort one another. I do remember being comforted by those words as a kid because I knew that my parents knew things that I didn’t. Their experiences in life gave them the knowledge that the pain of a bloody knee would pass and the likelihood of being struck by lightning during a storm while inside our house was pretty slim. Often times, however, the words “It’s gonna be alright” are used in our world to comfort others without much certainty at all. It happens in movies all the time. Something tragic takes place and, sure enough, a main character repeats those words to calm people down and give them hope. But the reality is that without certainty, the words “It’s gonna be alright” only provide empty comfort and false assurance or, at best, a shadow of those things.
As Christians, however, we have certainty that everything will be alright; maybe not today or next week or even next year, but at some point in the future everything will be alright… actually, so much more than alright. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul spends a few verses instructing his Christian brothers and sisters about the return of Jesus. He tells them that Jesus will descend “with the sound of the trumpet of God” and those Christians who were alive will join those who were dead in the sky with Jesus (vv. 14-17). At the end of verse 17, Paul gives these words of certainty to the Thessalonians, “so we will always be with the Lord”. Then, in verse 18, he tells them, “encourage one another with these words”. So, how do Christians say “It’s gonna be alright”? By saying, “A day is coming when we will always be with the Lord!” That’s comfort and hope that is anchored in something true! Most likely you will encounter a Christian this week who is hurting or struggling through hardship. Choose to give that person real hope about a real future, established in a real Savior, who really died and really came back to life!