Joy Comes in the Morning

After death where can hope be found? Read how Abigail found her ultimate hope in Christ.

A professor of ours from college wrote a book where he talks about death bringing everything into perspective - I think there is a lot of truth in this. This last month our friend Than Oo, a Buddhist, died at age 35 after battling cancer. He was our first friend to die here in SE Asia so the whole funeral process was new to us. The body was laid beneath a fly net as friends and family came and grieved around his body. After about 10 minutes of this they came with a wheeled stretcher bearing a small white casket made out of thin plywood. They put his body in the casket and wheeled him about 100 feet away to the doors of the incinerator. Friends and family looked on one final time before they wheeled him through the doors to burn his body. There was such little hope in the service. No words of comfort; no hope beyond the grave. The only voices we heard were those of people trying to calm and comfort those who were crying loudly. On the plain concrete wall of the funeral room was written in English, "So as you are now, I once was. So as I am now, so you will be," as if this was a final message from the deceased to his loved ones. The hopelessness literally echoed off the walls. One of our Buddhist staff at our work place told us, "I think I see a major difference between Christianity and Buddhism. In Buddhism we do our best to solve our own problems. If we do good, we get good, if we do bad, we get bad. But when we die we don't have peace to know what is next. But, Christians you have hope when you die. You have peace that you will be with God when this life is over."

Our house help and one of our closest friends was Than Oo's girlfriend. Since his death she has moved in with our family. She also felt like the time of his passing was a great opportunity to deepen her commitment to Christ and finally get baptized. At her baptism, we gave her a middle name, Abigyeela (the form of Abigail in her native tongue), which means "my father's joy." Her earthly father passed away long before she was ever able to know him, but she is the joy of her Heavenly Father, and she looks forward to the day when she can meet Him face-to-face after this less than easy life is over. We thought the name was a perfect fit. Though this sorrow may last through the night, his joy comes in the morning – and that is the truth that Abigail now lives.

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