Grieving With Hope
"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." -1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV)
How do you go on after experiencing the unexpected death of a friend and loved one? The Illinois Wesleyan University football team was faced with this difficult task after the death of 21-year-old offensive lineman and co-captain, Doug Schmied. Schmied passed away on August 24, 2005, after suffering complications from heatstroke.
“This is a devastating loss for everyone who knew Doug,” said Illinois Wesleyan head football coach Norm Eash. The Christians in Thessalonica were eagerly anticipating the return of the Lord Jesus. However, when fellow believers died and Christ had not returned yet, they began to fear that those believers would miss His return. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul assures them and us that we will one day be united with our brothers and sisters in Christ when He returns. He doesn’t tell us not to grieve when a brother or sister in Christ passes on; he just encourages us to grieve with hope, knowing we will see them again.
The greatest decision that you or I will ever make (or not make) is to receive Jesus Christ into our lives. We may make many important decisions over our lifetime, but no other decision will have the same ramifications. This choice will either make or break your eternity.
1. How have you responded to the loss of someone close to you?
2. How can Paul’s words encourage you when it comes to dealing with death?
3. How prepared are you for Christ’s return?
Philippians 1:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 2 Timothy 4:7-8
God, dealing with death is unavoidable. I thank You for the hope You have given me through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Create in me an urgency to share about Jesus’ sacrifice and the eternal life secured through His death and resurrection so that I can see my close friends and family in heaven one day. Amen.