1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NLT)
And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died.
Grief can stop you in your tracks, but God gives a hope to keep you going!
When a Focus on the Heart women's ministry team visited Ethiopia recently, the car they were travelling in got stuck behind a truck in a long line of stopped cars. The ministry leaders, sitting in the back seat, were watching groups of women walking along the shoulder of the road wearing long dresses and head scarves, wondering what was happening. First-time visitors to a country are often puzzled by what they see and hear because they don't have an adequate context for interpreting what's going on.
The driver was frustrated because he could not see around the large truck and the reason for the traffic jam was hidden from him. Finally, he got out to walk around the truck to assess the situation. When he returned, he said the line of stopped cars was very long and unlikely to move soon. When asked what the hold-up was, he replied, "There are people crying in the middle of the road."
He then explained that the pastor of the church down the road had recently died and that possibly this was his funeral. It was another 10 minutes or so before the traffic was able to begin to move again.
We know that death is a reality of life in this world, but when it comes close to us, it can become personally overwhelming. Facing the prospect of death, we feel our powerlessness and vulnerability-no matter how much we want it not to happen, no matter how advanced our medical science, eventually death comes to all.
The apostle Paul suggests that some of our distress in the face of death is not understanding the bigger picture. In a sense we are like first-time visitors to a country who lack a complete understanding of the context in which things occur. Christian grief is the sorrow of losing a loved one and is tempered by our confidence that this life is not the end, but a prelude to a new order of existence with Jesus. Do you know someone who needs to hear this comforting truth today?