ODJ: with hope full

June 20, 2015 

READ: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 

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 (v.13).

Taking his dark, weathered hands in mine, we bowed to pray. As a custodian (him) and as a teacher (me), our different life experiences intersected in my tiny office this week. His mother had been sick for some time, and the disease that had previously been confined to one area had now spread to her entire body. Confident of God’s ability to heal, we prayed for Him to restore her body—and we also asked for the miracle of comfort that supersedes death. Tonight, her son sits by her bedside and knows he will soon have to say goodbye. For now, anyway.

Keepsakes, memories, final words. Death is never easy, even when we have months to prepare. We do all we can to hold on to those we love for just a little longer because, even for the believer, the separation brought on by death feels so permanent in light of our grief. We were designed for the eternal; we were not made for loss.

Something inside us cries for everlasting life and hope.

How beautiful is hope for believers in Jesus: “Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever” (1 Thessalonians 5:10). We can have confident hope in the One who made and sustains us (Revelation 1:8, 4:11).

Our security isn’t in what we can see any more than in what we can control. Relive the places of laughter, remember the arms that used to encircle you with strength, and hear again the voice that sweetly said, “I love you.” And comfort other believers with this truth: Jesus is alive, and “whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever” (1 Thessalonians 5:10). In Christ our hope is full!

—Regina Franklin

365-day-plan: John 3:22-36

Read Psalm 116:1-19 and consider how its words provide a framework for grieving. 
How can we bring comfort to someone who’s uncertain about the eternity of a loved one who has died? What gives you hope today?