As I walked into the church auditorium this morning, my heart was instantly seized with a wave of grief at the sight of three caskets. I wasn’t prepared for that, and though my head knew, seeing tangible evidence of the great loss began the next hours of weighty grief.
A father’s casket nestled between two of his precious young daughters’ caskets is a sight that moves quickly from your eyes to settle deep into your heart. Each casket had a photo with a vibrant smiling face. My only source of comfort that I kept repeating over and over in my mind was, “They are with Jesus. They are with Jesus. They are with Jesus.” But then I kept thinking of the eight left behind. The widow and seven children who spent hours upon hours being a family unit—and suddenly there was a gaping hole and the thought of loss, upon loss, upon loss, was an assault.
Inside the walls of the church those gathered grieved, but those gathered also celebrated that each one lost was a vocal follower of Jesus Christ and each reflected His grace and love to others in the way they lived their lives. In that sanctuary praises, prayers, and petitions were lifted up on behalf of the grieving family.
Community was challenged to remember the words of James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” May it be so, Father God, that the people of God would rally and in great number provide for the needs of this family. (Please give to the Tittle Family.)
As the Tittles, who are with Jesus, would have wanted, the truth of salvation and an eternity because of Jesus was shared in a mighty way at the funeral. My hope and prayer is that any and all who hear about the Tittle tragedy would take the time to learn more about this family and understand that, yes, there is grief, but there is hope because there is an assurance of eternity. My prayer is that any who do not know Jesus would come to know Him as a result of this tragedy.
Sadly, for the first time in United States history, Jesus does not seem to be held in high regard. Instead He is legislated against, He is mocked and joked about, and His cross is a crude fashion statement for many who blaspheme Him.
The perfect One, Jesus, who willingly took on the sin of the world and chose to die for all of humanity is openly ridiculed by many, many people in this country—a country that was founded on Christian faith. In America today Jesus is as mocked as He was the day an angry crowd chanted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
A stark contrast to the comfort, solace, hope, and peace Jesus is bringing to a fractured family in Little Rock, Arkansas.
As I sit here now, remembering the words shared at the funeral, remembering the Jesus-loving lives that were cut tragically short. My thought quite honestly is . . . it would be better to be with Jesus right now than to remain in this fallen world that so vehemently shows disdain and mockery of my Jesus.
I long for heaven because this world is just so foreign to me.
Jesus come quickly.
(If you would like to know Jesus, you can learn more about Him here.)