But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
On Friday I mentioned my mom’s condition following a major stroke. After several days in the ICU, mom finished her race and is now in the presence of the Lord. She will be missed, but as followers of Christ we do not “grieve as others do who have no hope.”
Why? Whether we live or die, followers of Christ have the great hope of the literal, physical return of Christ. Until that day, believers like my mom and dad and so many others who left this world are now in the presence of Christ (Philippians 1:21). There is great hope found only in Christ
Paul anticipated Christ’s return in his own day and described for the Thessalonians (and us) how those things would take place so that the people of his day would be both informed (v.13) and encouraged (v.18).
The same life lesson is available for us. We can read Scripture and be informed and encouraged. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but there is eternal hope for those who put their confidence in the Gospel.