January 12, 2013

On Holy Ground

Psalm 71:1-6, 19-24

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again.
—Psalm 71:20


Sometimes it takes a special event to really understand a Bible passage. It happened to us on a Saturday morning in a local hospital. We had been asked to come because a close friend was dying. The moment we walked into his room, we knew that we were standing on holy ground.

While standing around his bed, his wife asked for someone to read Psalm 71. A sister-in-law began reading, and we heard the words, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again.” Those words spoke to me in a way they never had before.

During his short illness there were “troubles, many and bitter.” There had been many treatments and countless prayers for healing. But the time had come to let him go. It was one of the most difficult moments for the family.

But in that final moment, through the words of Psalm 71, we were reminded that even in the face of death there is the sure promise of new life. “Though you have made me see troubles … you will restore my life again.” Life is filled with troubles, and death is indeed our last enemy, but through Jesus there is the hope of eternal life for the child of God.

What amazing grace—when even in the face of death we can speak of new life because Christ has conquered death!

Lord Jesus, thank you for the assurance that you have conquered death and will restore our lives even though we face death. We pray in your name. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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