When Christ returns, He will gently rouse out of sleep those who have departed this earth.
“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…We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” 1 Th 4:14.
When I was around six years old, I had to be hospitalized for surgery due to a kidney blockage. One evening before my mother left the hospital, she informed me that Holdie, her mother, was coming to be with me the next day. I loved Holdie so much that I could hardly sleep that night.
The next day, about an hour before she was to be there, I went and sat on the floor between the elevators. I couldn’t wait to see her, but I fell asleep while waiting on her. I can’t remember whether a nurse awakened me or whether Holdie did, but I do know that when I opened my eyes she was there!
I think that this must have been a similar experience for the Thessalonians. The believers were so convinced that Jesus Christ was on His way back to earth, they were worried for those believers who had just died. They were fearful that the deceased would miss out on the big event, so Paul encouraged them with today's beautiful passage. His words were not telling them that they should not grieve their departed ones, but that they didn’t have to grieve with the same despair as those who were not Christ believers. He reminded them of the beautiful truth that because Christ died for believers, when He did return those who had already died would be gently roused out of their sleep.
So many people believed in God but not in Christ, which is the cornerstone of being reunited with our loved ones in eternity. Without the cross there would be no forgiveness for us…without the Christ there would be no salvation for us…without the resurrection there would be no reunions.
As I sit here between my spiritual elevators awaiting my Savior, I am just as excited as I was at six years old. I know that most likely I will fall asleep again, but this time I will be awakened by the One who climbed up on that tree to save me.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’ John 14:1-4.