by Paul List:
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Th. 4:13-18)
If these verses sound familiar to you, it is because they are. Pastors often find their way to these verses during a funeral service. These are some of the strongest promises in the Bible that deal with man’s most dreaded foe; death.
In the past few months, illness and death have come to the forefront in the globes news cycles. Mass hysteria and global panic have rendered otherwise peaceful nations into chaos. Our very way of life has altered in some degree due to the fear of illness and or death. Anxiety is high. Suicide, self-harm, fear, depression and anger have hit historic highs in the last few months. Isolation has created an unprecedented dependence on electronics human kind has never before seen.
The apostle Paul clearly writes to those who have lost loved ones not to drop into hopeless sorrow. Without Jesus, there is only hopeless sorrow. With Jesus, humanity has hope. With Jesus, illness and death lose their sting and become a door to eternity with the Lord. Brothers and sisters in the church, Paul’s nearly 2,000 year old letter has lost none of its truth or potency. Our hope is always in the resurrection of Jesus. Truth has a name, and His name is Jesus.
We are all in a position to comfort someone today with these words. Be intentional in your walk with Jesus and He will lead you to help comfort a fellow brother or sister in need. Pray for wisdom, pray for patience, and pray that the Holy Spirit will fill you with love and that you may bring the Light into this dark world. Lift up one another in prayer. Never think of prayer as a last resort. Many only turn to God after the meds fail or the doctors give up. Intercessory prayer for those in despair is the single most important thing we can do for one another.
Christ will return. Christ will reign over all existence for all of eternity. We might not have all the answers. We might just sit there and pray for the desperate. But we know this, God loves us and He sent His only Son to die for us. He knows and feels our pain and sorrow. He has provided us everything we need to face the challenges of today, tomorrow and for all time until He returns. Throw every burden on Him, He alone can take it.