I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit over the last several weeks and have hoped that these truths from the Scripture might encourage you and help you in the days to come.
As disciples of Christ one of the most difficult trials that we find ourselves confronted with along our journey of life is the loss of someone we care about and love. The depth of the emotions that we experience and the grief that we encounter at times can be just a little bit overwhelming. In addition, we discover that there are a myriad of adjustments that will occur. They seem to begin almost immediately with the simple changes that happen within our daily lives, and then quite unexpectedly they continue to expand to new and unanticipated changes which are uncovered day by day.
We grieve... and the deep and personal emotion that we experience during these times of grieving turn out to be gifts from God to us because they reveal the depth of love that we can share and have shared with another and they draw us closer to Him. The revelation of the Scripture never instructs us not to grieve. What they do say is that if a Christian dies, we do not grieve as those who have no hope.
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. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)
We have hope because we know, not just wish, that our separation from our loved ones is only temporary.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)
It most certainly is a powerful revelation to know that the ones we have loved and cared about are now in heaven with the Great Shepherd, Jesus, who has taken them through “the valley of the shadow of death” into the presence and fellowship of the Father along with those who have preceded them.
We have hope for the future and yet we still need help for the day. It is at times like this we find common ground with all humanity, for we all need the same things...comfort, rest, hope, strength and peace...and all of those things are found in Jesus.
We find the testimony of the Apostle Paul, who certainly had his share of sorrows and disappointments and yet each time the Lord saw him through, giving him the strength he needed. Paul could say without hesitation and with deep gratitude. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,” 2 Corinthians 1:3 (ESV)
I’ve watched it throughout the years and have experienced it myself when Our Lord offers and provides us with the comfort and the peace we need, when we need it the most. The Scripture penetrates into our heart with the assurance brought to us by the compassion of our Lord, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13
We have a heavenly Father who understands the sorrow that we have when we lose someone we love. He knows what it’s like to lose a loved one...a Son... on the cross... dying for the sins of the world.
We have a Savior who is described in the Scriptures as a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” Isaiah 53:3
We have a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who brings the comfort of Christ into our lives.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26 (ESV)
Yes, the Lord God understands, but He is willing to do more than that if we let Him. He is willing to bear our sorrow. “ casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)
That really means a lot to all of us...in real life...with real stuff going on. He offers us comfort and He offers us rest and He offers us peace. It’s just so true that Christ makes such a discernable difference in our lives; in the way we live, in the way we think, and in the way we heal. We just couldn’t do it without Him. Our hearts are comforted, and our lives are motivated, to not only receive His blessing but to share it with others who long for and have need of the same inner peace that brings such indescribable joy.
It may be that right now you’re not experiencing the loss of someone in your life, but the time will come if the Lord tarries. And when that time comes in your life or in the life of a friend, you will have an opportunity to receive what the world cannot give. The “peace that passes understanding”. People will try to help one another...and they should...and that is good...but it’s not enough...we need more...and only Christ is sufficient.
When someone we love dies, the same offer that was given by Jesus many years ago still holds true. It is a promise to be claimed and experienced. May the Lord be lifted up and glorified.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)