Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall 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. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Circle of Life
I miss my dad.
He died when I was ten-years-old. Automobile accident. I remember the ache in my heart in the following months as our family adjusted to life without him.
Death stinks! It rips a huge hole in the heart of loved ones left behind. It tears them apart. It leaves them wishing for a few more joyful days with the person who passed.
Death stinks because of sin. Death became part of the “circle of life” when the human race chose to rebel against God. Our sin separates us from God, the source of all life. Without him, every sinner dies. We can do nothing to change this reality.
But God could and did.
His Son Jesus volunteered to die for us. The Father and Son worked out a plan that Jesus would die under God’s curse. God redirected his curse away from us and blasted Jesus with eternal death. Jesus suffered horribly, but he did it willingly to take the stink and sting out of death.
Death still hurts really badly because we miss people who have died. But we know that if they died in Jesus, we’ll see them again in heaven. (Dying in Jesus means dying with the trust that God will take you to heaven all because of Jesus.) When a Christian dies, we mourn, we cry, we hurt, but we also hope. We hope our loved one is in heaven because of Jesus. We hope we will be in heaven too, because of Jesus.
Unlike hoping for good weather tomorrow, our hope of heaven is guaranteed, rock solid, unchangeable, undeniable. Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead himself. He floods our hurting hearts at the side of a casket with the hope of eternal life. We can and do depend on this hope.
So, while I miss my dad, I know I will see him again. I will get to know him man to man. I’ll hear his laugh again and experience that big heart of his. Most importantly, we’ll both enjoy spending time with our Savior and our God. Because we’ll be with the Lord forever.
How can I be sure? Jesus died for him. Jesus died for me. And Jesus died for you.
Jesus, thank you for dying to take away our sins. Thank you for promising to give us heaven. By your love, take us home when the time comes so we can be with you and our loved ones forever. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.