Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord (Revelation 14:13 NIV)
From time to time events happen that rearrange our lives, so that after them things can never be the same again.
A marriage, a birth, a serious accident and particularly a death can change things for ever. Thats understandable because our lives are so closely entangled with each other.
How do we come to terms with the death of a loved one?
When anyone we know dies, we experience a whole range of thoughts and emotions. Sharpest among them is the feeling of loss, and the grief, sometimes guilt, and sometimes just plain anger.
Its simply part of the process of coming to terms with loss that we feel all kinds of things that will for a while rip us apart and rearrange our lives in a bad way.
Does the gospel message hold out any hope for those experiencing such pain?
There is an event in history that rearranged not just a few lives but those of the entire human race.
The eternal Son of God, made mortal man for our sake suffered alongside us. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows (c.f. Isaiah 53:4 KJV). Now he carries our sorrows, our guilt, our failures, and bears them before the throne of God. He knows our frailty, for he has shared it.
Nevertheless our hurts, pains and agonies are real.
We must grieve the loss of a loved one, and have to come to terms with what the loss will mean. But in our sorrow we also must remember that all our deaths are enveloped by the love of the one whose death has rearranged everything for us all.
The depth of the love God has for each of us has been made known to us in that Jesus Christ took to himself our condition, and bore its worst at the cost of his death.
The self-giving death of Jesus is the gateway to the most wonderful act of power by the Lord of all. The death of Jesus cannot be separated from his resurrection 3 days later, and it means all our lives are also encompassed by the promise of resurrection.
The Apostle Paul tells us, For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53) This is the promise of the true rearrangement of our lives, the final overcoming of our death that blights our lives.
Death seems to have such a hold on humanity, yet in and through Jesus death has lost its sting; it no longer has victory over us (c.f. V.55).
Truly, those who die in the Lord are blessed, because as in Adam all die, yet in Christ Jesus the same all will be made alive (V.22). The promise of the death and resurrection of Jesus is that our frail and weak bodies will be transformed in the glory of resurrection life and we will be enabled to be what we were made to be.
Thats why when we grieve we dont grieve as the world does (c.f. 1Thessalonions 4:13); our grief must also include a note of thanksgiving for the life we have been able to share and for what God has promised and will accomplish through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lets encourage one another with these words (V.18).
Father, comfort us in our time of grief. Come alongside us to support us and rearrange our thinking so that we can capture the vision of eternity with you through Jesus Christ, to whom be all praise for ever and ever
Have an encouraging week.