Grieving With Hope
Updated: Mar 28
This Week's Scripture & Reflection: I Thessalonians 4:13-18
Each new day the Lord allows us to see brings with it frequent yet gracious reminders of the inherent fragility of human life. Reports of devastating losses saturate various news broadcasts, social media platforms, and even our immediate circles. The more we experience loss, the more we begin to truly understand that grieving does not end at the funeral; it continues thereafter.
Members of the Thessalonian church were also grieving the deaths of their fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord; they were afraid that their loved ones who had preceded them in death would miss Christ's glorious return! In the midst of his charge to the saints to walk in sanctification and love, the apostle Paul pauses to thoroughly reassure the Thessalonians that their fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord who had preceded them in death would be very much present at Jesus' return! He explains to them that when Jesus Himself descends from Heaven with the trumpet of God and a mighty shout, those who have died in Christ will rise first and those believers who are still alive and remaining on the Earth will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air!
Paul reassures the Thessalonians with these encouraging words so that they would not “grieve as others do who have no hope”. A sense of hopelessness is inherently implied in the notion of grieving a loss because the person or object that has been lost is assumedly lost forever. However, this is not the case for the believer in Jesus Christ! The spirits of those who believed in the Son prior to departing this life are currently in the presence of the Lord in all fullness (cf. II Corinthians 5:6-8). Just as Jesus died and rose again with a glorified body, so the dead in Christ shall also rise again and receive their glorified bodies and unite again with their indwelling spirits! So although we may grieve the physical absence of those who have went home to be with the Lord, we nonetheless grieve with hope, a blessed and assured hope rooted in the promise of a joyous reunion with them and our Lord & Savior to never be separated again!