Death is always a separation that brings ensuing sorrow and grief to the family or loved ones that are left behind. The departure of our loved ones in Christ can only be softened by Jesus’ presence and by God’s Word. The Lord promises to be with us and comfort us. Mathew 5:4 – “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (NLT).
Just recently, my sister’s mother-in-law, who was 90 years old, and still living by herself, was found dead, lying in the snow next to her garage. The family believes that she went out to the garage to get birdfeed so she could feed the birds. It was very cold and she had a heart attack, according to the biopsy. She laid there in the snow all that night, because where she was found, there were no footprints coming or going from the house. My sister had just taken her that day to get her hair done, and to get a new pair of shoes. When she took her home that Friday evening, she told her to stay in the house and stay warm because a snow was coming. On Saturday morning, when they called her to check on her, she didn’t answer her phone. So her son, Perry went to the house to check on her, and found her laying by the garage, in a peaceful position. Doctors tell them that she went quickly because there was no sign of a struggle. But the fact that she laid there frozen in the snow brings not only grief, but guilt. I’m sure many of us have wrestled with the guilt and “what if’s” when we have lost loved ones so suddenly and unexpected. I know I have, in the sudden deaths of our sons.
When we go through this kind of heartache and sorrow, we long for personal comfort and compassion Friends and family are comforters, but, God is our ultimate comforter, through Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NLT).
We have even a more sure hope, that we will see our loved ones who died in Christ, someday again.
In the week before Jesus was betrayed, tried and crucified, Jesus instructed His disciples to abide in Him, keep His commandments and to pray and love one another. He assured them, “you will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy (John 16:20, NIV).
Jesus was to die, and in spite of this His undeniable word was that he would come again. In His Fathers house – heaven, Jesus would prepare a place for His own.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto my self; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).
At His ascension, the angels repeated the promise of His return as further assurance of His words As Jesus was speaking to the disciples, he was “taken up” and the heard these words, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11, NIV). His return, like His ascension will be visual, physical, and recognizable. And it is the promise of His return, and the hope of heaven, that comforts us when those we love pass away.
Paul alluded to this when he wrote to the Thessalonian church. Read all of 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18. “Christ himself will come for his own. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). And as the Scripture tells us in verse 18, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
From my heart.