This is the first part of a three part series on encouraging words from Scripture for mourners. The words were encouraging and inspiring at the time they were penned and are still the source of encouragement and inspiration for mourners today. I suggest you read each suggested text and dig deeper into the meaning and implication of the message for you as you walk your grief journey.
PAUL’S ENCOURAGING WORDS TO GRIEVING CHRISTIANS
(I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
The Apostle Paul shares encouraging words with young Christians who have suffered the recent loss of cherished brothers and sisters in their church. The encouragement comes in the fact that God has promised to take care of His children whether they are alive or dead. All mourners—past mourners in the church in Thessalonica and mourners today–are given heart by hearing Paul’s words that they will see their loved ones again when Jesus returns.
Paul explains to mourners that although they are not exempt from grieving over lost loved ones that:
- The separation from their loved ones and the pain of grief caused by Death are only temporary and
- There is hope even in the dark periods of grief. One day when Christ returns, mourners will be together again with their loved ones and with God and Jesus. Not only will this be a great homecoming for believers, but it will be the greatest family reunion of all times.
The hope of our victory over Death in Jesus Christ and the promised family reunion in Heaven gives me the encouragement to face the struggles of grief and the crises of this life. I look forward to standing with the multitudes around God’s heavenly throne, searching the crowd for familiar faces and staring once again into the eyes of my lovely wife Cindy and my beautiful daughter Katie.
God’s love for us and the relationship He has with us is the same whether we are alive or dead. Our physical death does not end the love God continues to express for us. Our love for someone who dies is not ended at their death. Our loving relationship with that person continues. In their physical absence our continuing love finds voice in our grief and mourning.
Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise” available online at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-LPC-S-Larry-Barber/dp/1613796005 ), Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-never-dies-lpc-s-ct-larry-m-barber-ct-larry-m/1104364890?ean=9781613796016).
The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa”
Both English and Spanish versions are available for Kindle and Nook. Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX http://grief-works.org.