Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Several years ago I received word that a family member of a dear friend died. My day quickly turned into hours of mourning, but I was refreshed with the words of the Apostle Paul that reminded me that my grieving was not to be like those without Christ who have no hope. The tears I shed were not only from human loss, but also reflected the joy that comes from knowing the promise of eternal life based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We have a hope – a guarantee – that in Christ there is no death, but only resurrection to the eternal Presence of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.
I want to share with you the email I received from the husband of the woman who died during the night.
She had a particularly bad day today, severe pain in her head throughout the day. I stayed home all day until about 7pm, gave her 7pm meds and went to feed the animals. When I got back home she was still in her chair and almost unresponsive. She opened her eyes twice. There was no fear, only recognition and fatigue. About the time the paramedics got here she just stopped breathing. We worked on her for about thirty minutes and then I told them to stop. It was her time. For the first time in years she is not in pain anymore.
Considering the intense pain she has suffered almost constantly for these past several years, my heat breaks, but not for her. She is so much better off now, so very much better. Of course I grieve, even though I’ve known I would see this day sooner or later. The Lord gave her twenty years more than the doctors did, and to this day I know she was here just for me. She was the one who added all the colors of the rainbow to my otherwise black and white life. Why God blessed me with such a passionately loving and devoted wife, I do not know, but I am satisfied that the Lord called her home at this time. I will certainly miss her; I do not know how to be me without her, but I know tonight she is so much better off, and I am totally confident the Lord Jesus will walk with me through whatever comes, just as he always did for me and her when we were walking through life together.
So, we do not grieve like men who have no hope, for we believe that Jesus died and rose again. In this same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.
We mourned the loss of our dear sister in Christ, but we rejoiced in a life faithfully lived as a servant of her Lord. Her endurance through physical suffering is over, but the spirit of grace and love we all saw in her remains as her spiritual legacy for all to follow. She will be missed, but not for long. We will stand together in the Presence of God someday before the throne of Jesus Christ and He will declare, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
That’s the hope – the guarantee – of glory that all who are in Christ Jesus share.