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
I noticed a few things this morning when I read this particular part of chapter 4. First, I was reminded that it's okay to grieve; it's just that our grief is not one without hope because we know that there is more than this life here on Earth. Second, the Lord himself will be the one to wake those who are sleeping in Him. I think that will be such a powerful, triumphant moment; when Jesus comes to reclaim from Satan those who have fallen under the power of death, when Jesus once again defies Satan's strongest weapon. Finally, I know that we Christians often look to this passage for comfort when someone we love has died because it gives us hope that we may live with them again. But I noticed in this read-through that Paul makes a point of saying that when that day comes, then we will always be with God. That is the ultimate comfort-- to be with God forever.
Tonight as I was thinking about this passage again, I decided to search for other Bible verses on hope to remind myself exactly what that hope is that we have that allows us not to grieve as those who are without hope. Here are a few I found that were encouraging to me.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ~Hebrews 10:23
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. ~Titus 1:1,2
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope-- the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. ~Titus 2:11-13
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5