I decided to clean up the contact list on my phone. I was sad to find that I needed to delete over three dozen friends and family members who had died.
Delete sounds awful, doesn’t it? But it kind of feels that way when someone passes. It causes us grief, which is certainly appropriate. But grief can sometimes grab onto us and never let us go.
Is there anything we can do about it?
My wife desperately loves our kids. She was a stay-at-home mom who wanted stay-at-home kids.
But alas, our son graduated from high school and immediately entered the Air Force. His first duty assignment was in England – a transatlantic stretch of his mother’s love.
She grieved the loss of his presence. Her joy was marginal and her fretting miserable. It felt to her like the end of the relationship. Our gracious church foot the bill to send us there to visit. He needed it. She needed it more.
A friend eventually came to the rescue. She also had children who lived afar. She told Sharie that she could manage the absence if she and her kids agreed on when they would be together again. It was a hope with a date attached.
So, Sharie began to do the same when our kids left the nest. When a date was set, she found that she could endure the in-between. A departure began to feel only like a brief interruption.
King David handled his grief in a similar way. He had a newborn son who had become very ill. He fasted and prayed as he grieved the potential loss of his baby boy. Then the child died.
He reacted, “So David got up from the ground, bathed, put on oil, and changed his clothes. He went to the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then, when he entered his palace, he requested that food be brought to him, and he ate.” – 2 Samuel 12:20.
His attendants thought that he had lost his mind. So, he explained, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Perhaps the Lord will show pity and the child will live.’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Am I able to bring him back at this point?” (v. 22-23b)
Good point David, but is there anything else? Yes! – He said, “I will go to him…!” (v.23b)
David, who anticipated dwelling in the house of the Lord forever, also planned on doing it with his baby boy. He had a hope with a date attached.
Now this is what Paul had to say to us about grief.
“…we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
He spoke of Christians who had died, as being “asleep.” Hmm! I’m pretty sure that my wife doesn’t cry and grieve when I take a nap. Because – I’m still alive – just unavailable at the moment.
Paul wants us to know that when a believer dies, there is no reason to despair because a day is coming when, “We who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (4:15-17) – Together – again!
If you grieve the loss of a loved one – take heart for we have a hope with a date attached.
A PRAYER: God thank you for such a hope
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
Scripture references are from the NETBible.com