1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14 “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” (NIV)
This Saturday morning as I prepare for intercessory prayer, I carry with me all of the bereaved families this weekend. I know of three families who are burying loved ones today from the small town in which I live, one of them being our very own faithful church member whom we will funeralize this afternoon. This year has been such a season of sorrow and loss for the Body of Christ, but I want to encourage each and every Believer in Christ Jesus with the words the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica.
We are not ignorant about what happens to our loved ones who die in Christ. Those who die in the Lord find rest from their work and are at peace waiting to appear again at the Second Coming. Yes, it hurts to know that we will never again wrap our physical arms around them. That plans we made will go unfulfilled. However, this physical world is temporal, vapor. We as Kingdom Believers must set our hearts on things above. We can’t be so tethered to this life, that we place more value on it then the next one to come.
The enemy has tricked so many of us and convinced us to esteem that which won’t last. We spend countless hours chasing careers instead of Christ. We shout over new homes and cars when there was nothing wrong with what we had before because we have idolized money in our constant battle with materialism. We are spiritual people having a natural experience and when we experience natural occurrences like death, we mustn’t lose our Kingdom mindsets. It’s uncomfortable to think about a time when you won’t be here in flesh, but it’s true. Our focus must be on preaching the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that when those around us do pass, we have the hope of seeing them again in Glory. Too many are dying outside of Christ and the blood is on our hands because we have been too busy building earthly kingdoms instead of storing up our treasures in Heaven.
Do you believe the word of God is true? Do you believe Jesus died and rose and, in doing so, conquered, death, hell, and the grave? Do you believe that your loved one died in Christ? Then, rejoice! We have to learn to stand on the word of God and believe even when it hurts, even when we don’t understand, even when we feel broken, disappointed, and lost. That’s how we preach Jesus. By living out the incomprehensible faith it takes to trust Him everyday of our lives in front of the people whom we know and love.
I pray that God gives me the strength to walk in this truth when it is my turn to grieve. I pray that He continues to help me shift my focus to what really matters: living so I can live again. I pray that everyone connected to me who does not know Jesus as his or her personal savior will come to know Him while they have time so that when they die, they too will live again. I pray that my heart’s desire will be His heart’s desire. I pray comfort and peace for all those who are still struggling with this truth and I pray, in God’s perfect timing, healing and restoration will come.