Very dear friends received a late night phone call that no one wants to get. It was a call that has changed the course of their lives. “Your son was in a fatal crash, he is gone.”
I have been a pastor and follower of Jesus long enough to know that there are not any easy answers. There are no quick platitudes or words that make everything better in moments like these.
In the middle of deep grief and blinding loss, the only real comfort is in the arms and truth of the Living God. Over the past few days I have watched these friends, and their family, fall into the arms of Jesus. They have cried a lifetime of tears. They have comforted each other. They have been surrounded by God’s family…the Church. They are grieving, yet have hope and absolute confidence that they will see Nick again. Nick was a follower of Jesus. He placed his trust and life in the hands of the Savior. He is with Jesus and one day they will see their son, brothers, nephew again.
Tomorrow I will stand at a grave with the family and share a time of committal. I will read a passage from 1 Thessalonians. But first, I will talk about an inscription that has been found in the ancient city of Thessalonica. Back in the days of the apostle Paul and the early church there was a pagan saying. The inscription reads:
“After death no reviving; After the grave, no meeting again.”
The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote these words to the church in that very same ancient city. Notice the powerful contrast to the pagan attitude about death.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
In this life we will have grief and loss, but we can meet God in these moments. When this life ends, all grief, loss, and tears will be banished, and those who have placed their faith in Jesus will be with Him forever.
Don’t listen to and fixate on the hopeless inscriptions of our culture. Listen to the Word of God and hold onto the hope He alone can offer.