“Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, NET 2005).
My Musings – This text was referenced today by my dear brother and mentor in the LORD, Pastor Bill Badal, whose wife Michelle unexpectedly passed away on Tuesday. Bill and Michelle have been partners in life and in ministry together for, I believe, over fifty years.
As Christians we grieve, as we must, but not as the world grieves. For we have a blessed hope that the world does not have. We grieve for the temporary separation but are encouraged “with these words.” For Bill, his family, and the many friends who knew Michelle, the grief is deep but not despairing. In loss and separation there is hurt, but in His promise there is hope. More than hope, assurance. Because He conquered death so has Michelle. So will Bill, and so will all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. And then, perhaps soon, “we will always be with the LORD,” and with those we have parted with in physical death. When viewed from the other side, fifty years is such a brief time. We will miss you sister, but we will see you again.
My Advice – Do not be “like the rest who have no hope.”