The passing has happened… the funeral is over… everyone else’s life is back to normal… and now reality sets in. When you don’t expect it, tears flow. You find yourself staring into nothing and thinking of your loved one. You hear a song… smell something… or see someone and memories flood to your mind about the person you love who has died. A birthday… Mother’s or Father’s Day… a holiday… or anniversary of their passing reminds you they are no longer on this earth and the grief returns…
Paul had some things to say about grief as found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since (1) we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, (2) that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 (3) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, (4) and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 (5) Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Observation: There is a kind of grief that is healthy… that is different from the grief non-Christians experience. Christian grief is undergirded by hope. The strength hope provides is found in the five points below.
Observation (1): What Christians believe about Christ’s victory over death through the resurrection is of great importance. His victory means that they are still alive… in Christ… with Him. This leads to the next observation…
Observation (2): Christians who have died (Special note! Jesus IS coming back! That is hope!!), will be resurrected just as Jesus was resurrected from the dead. This event will be supernatural… carried out by heavenly angels.
Observation (3): Christians who are still alive when Jesus returns… after believers who have died are resurrected… will be transformed and changed in the twinkling of an eye into their spiritual body… and then will be caught up in the clouds to return with Christ and their loved ones to earth.
Observation (4): The result of this event is that all believers will forever… for all eternity… be with Jesus. THIS is what makes heaven, heaven!
Observation (5): This series of events called The Second Coming of Christ are to be personally meditated upon and told to one another so that Christians are comforted when they are grieving. In this way… with the hope of Jesus’ sure return… the Christian’s grief can be filled to overflowing with joy!
Conclusion: When tempted to dwell on the death and loss of a loved one, choose to look toward heaven and the sure return of Jesus Christ! Look forward to the reward of being with Christ, glorifying… worshiping… and honoring him with all those who believe… for all eternity! Oh what a day!
In Colossians 3:2-4 it is written, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory…”