1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
I remember quite clearly when my father died more than 25 years ago. Our family, especially my mother, fell into incredible despair at his sudden passing. Those were dark days, a time when we felt abandoned and alone. We grieved for some time.
But eventually time moved on and we were able to go about life as best we could. In time I became aware that there was indeed a hope that we could all share. Although gone from this mortal life, my father had passed into an immortal life with Christ.
This passage from the first letter to the church at Thessalonica offers hope to those who may grieve or despair. What is the purpose of this writing? What do we as Christians believe?
I find it interesting that the comment is made that this proclamation of faith is intended to dispel any ignorance. Those who do not know Jesus are ignorant of the hope that we can all have.
The comment is made that we should not “grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” It does not say that we should not grieve. Grief, sorrow, sadness, times of depression are part of life and when we suffer a loss or are in distress we are going to experience this pain and sadness.
But our grief should not be a hopeless grief. Our grief should be a temporary state from which we rise with a hope. That hope is in the knowledge that Jesus died and rose again. And it follows, then, that if Jesus died and rose again, all who believe in him will also rise again, rise into an eternal life with God.
And that hope applies to all our worries and distress. We may need to spend some time being concerned over what is happening around us. We can feel discouraged by the financial turmoil of our society. We may be distressed over the attitudes and behaviors of people we see. We may even be experiencing the sorrows of losing a loved one.
But we must remember this feeling can be overcome. Our distress and troubles are overcome by the mercy and love of God. And that should present us with hope.
Having such hope should turn our sorrows and our worries into joy. It may be difficult to achieve, but we should be joyful because our hope is based on the firm, unshakable truth that we are loved by God and we are beneficiaries of Christ’s great mercy and sacrifice.
DAILY CHALLENGE: How might you still have hope even as you grieve?