"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV)
When my husband died, a part of me died too. Pain and fear surrounded me during those dark days. I ached inside and felt so lost, empty, and alone. I missed him terribly.
At times, my need for his comforting touch was so strong it would play tricks on my mind. Once, I saw a man who resembled my husband driving a red truck just like Porter's. I followed that truck for miles. As my heart pounded with hope, nothing else mattered more in that moment than catching up to the truck. I was willing to drive to the ends of the earth if necessary.
When I finally caught up with him at a red light and our eyes met, my fantasy ended with a devastating halt. It was as if a cruel joke had been played on me. Weakened by the truth, I pulled into a nearby parking lot, lay across the seat of my car, and wept. As the sun set, the temperature inside the car cooled. Sitting up, I wiped my face, zipped up my coat, and headed for home—without my husband.
There was a great sense of loss, thinking I'd never see Porter again. Maybe you can relate and have experienced grief too? If so, you may be encouraged by this truth: for those who love and know the Lord, parting is only temporary. It's not really goodbye, but see-you-later.
The apostle Paul assured the Thessalonians of this truth.
"The dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:16b-17 NIV).
That assurance is for us too. There are three words in Paul's statement that provide hope, comfort, and assurance for the brokenhearted: we, together, and them.
We (people on earth) who are still alive will be caught up together (two parties meeting) with them (those who are in heaven).
These words of reunion indicate that God's children never have to experience permanent separation. That's good news! One day you and I will be reunited with our loved ones who believed in Jesus while on Earth. What a glorious day that will be.
Once I really took hold of this truth, my heart settled. Though I still walked through days of missing my husband, the firm grip sadness had on me lost its strangling hold.
Now, grief no longer burdens my heart. I have hope in God's promise that one day I'll be reunited with Porter, my two grandmothers, and my grandfathers. Holding on to that hope has eased death's sting and filled my heart with anticipation.
Even in grief there is hope. For those who accept the Lord as their Savior, death is not goodbye. It's simply see-you-later.
Dear Lord, thank You for communicating to us words of a glorious reunion one day. Thank You that death is not the end. When my grief runs deep, remind my heart to hope in Your truth. I will see my loved ones again. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Who can you share this good news with today who needs comfort?
John 14:2-3, "There are many rooms in my Father's house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be where I am." (NIRV)