“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Grief isn’t a bad thing, it’s a demonstration of love. The apostle Paul brings the comfort of hope to handle the pain of grief. Biblical hope is a confident expectation. As believers, we have hope in grief because we’ll see our loved ones again. We will be with them and with the Lord—either by rapture or by resurrection. Jesus will return with a shout. And when Jesus shouts, dead people don’t stay dead!
Imagine that moment. The sound of the Lord’s shout, accompanied by “the voice of the archangel and…the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). In an instant, the dead will rise (1 Corinthians 15:52), and “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
At the rapture, we’ll be united with Jesus and with our new bodies, and we’ll be reunited with our saved loved ones. Why do we believe in the rapture? Because God is already batting a thousand on every other prophecy. Knowing all of this should change how we live (1 Thessalonians 5:5-10).
First, we need to behave like we believe. We either live in anticipation of seeing Jesus or in anxiety of leaving this world. So stop acting like this world is your home and live like you’re going home. Don’t expect from the world what God intends in eternity.
Secondly, knowing what we know makes the gospel message urgent. There is no hope in grief for the lost. So why do we hesitate to tell them about Jesus? What unbelieving friends or family members come to mind? The reality of being eternally separated from God far outweighs the risk of offending them.
We have a sure hope in grief, and His name is Jesus. So don’t let fear about death consume you. Remember, being absent from your body just means you’re at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Until then, live in expectation and preparation for the rapture; encouraging others to straighten up and look up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).