Seventh Anniversary of Bereavement:
A Warm Day in February
By Greg Wright, Stephen's Father, February 8, 2008

"It is a warm day in February, but the cold winds are coming." That is what we kept hearing in the news during the first week of February 2008. "It's warm right now, but change is coming."

The cold winds did come, bringing with them deadly tornadoes. For most of us, the winds merely scared us out of our wits. For many, there was the loss of homes and property. But for some, the coldest, iciest winds of all came, and people feel the impact even now, as they mourn the loss of friends and family.

How can we be better prepared for these kinds of events? People prepare for winter's storms in several ways. Some prepare by making sure that they have stable shelter. Some prepare by setting up alternative sources of heat so that they can still be warm, even if there is no electricity.

But everyone prepares by having warm clothing. Even when we have warm days in February, we keep our warm clothing close at hand, for we know from experience that change is coming. The Bible speaks of the importance of having the right kind of clothing. We find this in Isaiah 61:10:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

The storm can blow away our supposedly stable shelter. And when the house is gone, it matters very little what alternative sources of heat it contained. But it will matter a great deal whether or not we are wearing the garments of salvation, should the wind pick us up and throws us across the yard. These terms garments of salvation and robe of righteousness are metaphors for the protection that is worn by those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is the protection that assures us of peace with God.

When all of those dear people died this past week, the one thing that mattered the most was what they were wearing. Were they wearing the garments of salvation, and were they clothed with the robe of righteousness? And seven years ago, on another warm day in February, when our own lives were forever changed by the loss of Stephen, the one thing that mattered the most was whether he was wearing the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness.

Thanks be to God. For although we have no righteousness of our own, through faith in Christ we have a perfect robe of righteousness wrapped around us, a robe not of our own making but made through the life, death, and resurrection of our precious savior.

Several weeks ago we had the joy of seeing several of the young people at Grace Baptist Church baptized. They will face many storms in the days ahead, and we would be vigilant to protect them, in whatever ways we can, from winter's terrors.

Yet, we rest in this confidence, that should the worst happen, Christ will be enough, both for them and for us.

Meanwhile, let us look around us, for many are still unprepared for the icy blasts that are sure to come.

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