“But 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. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
I just got home from a funeral. Yes, the man was elderly. Yes, he was suffering. Still, he was a father and grandfather, he had family and friends. People will grieve his death, and that’s okay. The Bible doesn’t tell us not to grieve, but it does tell us that as Christians, we will grieve differently than the rest of the world. Because of the resurrection, we grieve the loss of our loved one now, but not without the hope that we will be with them in Christ at some point in the future.
When our daughter, Kate, was fifteen she went to Germany for a year as an exchange student. To be separated from our child for a year seemed like a long time. We were discouraged from making a lot of phone calls because she needed to adjust to her new environment. It was hard. I missed her. However, I knew she was having an amazing experience and that in time, we would be reunited. That took some of the “sting” out of our separation.
For Christians, death has lost it’s sting (1 Cor. 15:55) for some of the same reasons. Right now Art, the man who died is in the presence of God. I know it’s a wonderful experience. In the Book of Revelation the apostle John tell us:
“He (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore because the former things have passed away.”
His Christian family and friends will see him again, and share in his joy. Because of the resurrection, our separation is not permanent. “… Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:56