By Dr. Barry Thornton
I was ministering to a church in northwest Indiana in the late 1980s. One afternoon, just before Easter, I received a call informing me that my good friend Hank Gora had received a muffled message from his sister that his mother had died.
I quickly made my way to Hank’s home where I greeted him and embraced both him and his grief. After praying with him, I made my way back to the church building only to get a phone call hours later from Hank telling me that his mother was alive and well. He had misunderstood his sister and had gone from deep grief to extreme exultation. Needless to say, Hank’s Easter was pretty special that year!
Word on the street was that Jesus of Nazareth had been condemned and put to death by crucifixion. On their way to Emmaus, two disciples shared the news, unknowingly, to a resurrected Christ. With heavy hearts they rehashed the awful events.
God has a way of turning bad news into hope! Like Cleopas and the other disciple, we sometimes find ourselves standing still with our faces downcast. In times like these, all we need to do is look up and into the eyes of the one who brings hope.
For years afterward, Hank and I talked about what had happened and how the valley of death had been transformed into a mountaintop of joy. Later, when Hank died, my heart “burned” as I realized that he, along with all of us who know Christ, will someday be raised with him. D.L. Moody said, “Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal—a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto his glorious body.”
Dr. Barry Thornton and his wife, Janet, live in Moberly, Missouri, where he serves as director of development, instructor, and church consultant with Central Christian College of the Bible.