We will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
When writing my mom’s obituary, I felt that the word died seemed too final for the hope I had in our promised reunion in heaven. So, I wrote: “She was welcomed into the arms of Jesus.” Still, some days I grieve when looking at the more current family photos that don’t include my mom. Recently, though, I discovered a painter who creates family portraits to include those we’ve lost. The artist uses the photos of loved ones who have gone before us to paint them into the picture of the family. With strokes of a paintbrush, this artist represents God’s promise of a heavenly reunion. I shed grateful tears at the thought of seeing my mom smiling by my side again.
The apostle Paul affirms that believers in Jesus don’t have to grieve “like the rest of mankind” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (v. 14). Paul acknowledges Jesus’ second coming and proclaims that all believers will be reunited with Jesus (v. 17).
God’s promise of a heavenly reunion can comfort us when we’re grieving the loss of a loved one who has trusted Jesus. Our promised future with our risen King also provides enduring hope when we face our own immortality, until the day Jesus comes or calls us home.
How has God used the promise of a heavenly reunion to comfort you in your grief? Why does the promise of a heavenly reunion give you great hope?
Loving Savior, thank You for giving me an enduring hope to share with others until the day You call me home or come again.
For further study, read Life to Come.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, Paul writes to believers in Jesus at the church in Thessalonica about the fate of believers who’d already died. The apostle’s words were driven by the practical concerns of his readers. These early believers had expected Christ to return in the near future, and—much like the disciples—they thought He’d set up an earthly kingdom. For them, that meant that those who died before His return would miss out on the kingdom of God. This concern caused them grief, so Paul wrote to them about the hope of the resurrection so they wouldn’t grieve without hope (v. 13). Instead, they were to have hope that the brothers and sisters who’d died in Jesus would indeed experience life with Him. In fact, at Christ’s return, they’d precede the living to join Him forever (v. 17).