Amanda Knox is a free woman this morning. As you know, an Italian court yesterday overturned her 2009 conviction. After she spent four years in an Italian prison cell, two judges and six jurors acquitted Ms. Knox and her former boyfriend of the 2009 stabbing death of Meredith Kercher.
Meanwhile, a scientist who won the Nobel prize for medicine yesterday died three days before learning of his award. Ironically, he was recognized for his work on fighting cancer, but died of the disease after using his own discoveries to extend his life.
Ralph Steinman, 68, had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. The Nobel Committee, which does not make posthumous awards, apparently did not know of Dr. Steinman’s death before making its announcement. The Committee is determining what to do with the prize money, but will not name a substitute winner.
How are we more like Amanda Knox than Dr. Steinman?
If Jesus is your Lord, you have been set free from the prison of sin: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). As he did for the children of Israel, God has broken our bonds of slavery and liberated us to new life.
Unlike Dr. Steinman, we already know of the reward God has prepared for his faithful servants: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
When we know that we are destined for eternity in paradise, we can live every day on this fallen planet in victorious joy. We know that the worst that can happen is only the door to the best that can happen. And when we take our last breath here and our first breath there, those who love us and love our Lord can face our homegoing with courage.
I was recently privileged to take part in the memorial service of a very dear friend in Midland, Texas. When we gathered at the cemetery, his wife, daughters, and their family chose to sing a hymn together. As they stared at the casket encasing the earthly tent left behind by the one they loved, they closed their hymn with these triumphant words: “In mansions of glory and endless delight, I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright. And singing Thy praises, before Thee I’ll bow: ‘If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.'”
How could they sing such words at such a place? By the same power that will enable you to sing them this morning. This is the promise, and the invitation, of God.