It’s a heartbreaking scene, and sadly, one most people of faith are called to experience, at one point or another. I was invited to a funeral for a young man who, as far as anyone knew, had no faith. And I watched, and hurt, for his family and friends as they grieved without hope ... mourning a life over too soon, and with no clear expectation of eternal life beyond the veil.
All agreed that he was a good man … kind, loving, considerate. His loved ones shared delightful stories of moments and adventures fondly remembered, and there was laughter. But then the laughter faded, and with it the light in their eyes, replaced by shadows of doubt and uncertainty.
His was a wealthy family, and generous with their wealth. The candles and flowers and décor were beautifully well done. But these handsome accoutrements were just window dressing for a room filled with mourners who could talk only of their dearly loved son, brother, nephew, uncle in terms of his past … not of his future.
Our time here is so brief. We all know that—and we all try to shove it aside, to obscure and conceal it behind a rush of activities and plans, dreams and diversions. But something always brings it surging back to the surface of our minds: a milestone birthday, a near miss in traffic, the painful loss of someone we loved and cared about.
Some people ask, and no doubt many wonder, why we do the work we do at Alliance Defending Freedom. The long hours forging strategy, writing legal briefs, allotting grants, building relationships with other legal groups and ministries, the endless travel and nights away from loved ones … so much effort, and so much of it battering against entrenched legal and political agendas determined to submerge truth and liberty to their own causes and profits.
It’s easy to say that we’re working for the great, historic ideals—reforming the legal system, turning back Roe v. Wade, restoring our society’s understanding of marriage and family. And those are indeed objectives of this organization. But the term we use most, in our speeches and publications, is something simpler than that: we want “to keep the door open for the Gospel.”
As long as that door is open … as long as you and I and our children and our pastors and all those who share our timeless faith have the freedom to live out the truth of the love of Christ in our daily lives and language … people will find their way out of the darkness and into the light.
And that, I thought—watching the aching souls at that funeral stare into the darkness—is worth everything we have to give.
John 15:5–Apart from Christ, we can do nothing.