Facing the Death of a Loved One

One of the most difficult trials each of us will face is the death of a loved one. It's hard to keep things in perspective when death strikes so close to home, isn't it?
Modern man strives frantically to prolong life and overcome death's power. Doctors will go through extreme measures to keep the sick and dying alive just a little longer through wonder drugs, organ transplants, and sophisticated machinery. But death continues harvesting its fruit without prejudice toward age, race, social level, or education. Death continues to be cynical, cruel, and real; no one escapes its cold fingers. Our appointment is sure. Neither money, fame, nor intelligence exempts us from death; everyone succumbs.

How should we respond as believers when a dearly loved Christian relative or friend dies? Grief is a normal part of facing the death of a loved one. We do still grieve at the death of other believers, but not as those who have no hope. "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." (1 Thessalonians 4:13). 

Jesus gives us these words of comfort: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (John 14:1-3). 

That is our blessed hope as believers! Yes, the grieving process is absolutely normal for our emotional and physical well-being. But as Christians, we do not have to be swallowed up in that grief, or allow anger or bitterness to take root in our hearts. We can face death with hope, realizing it is not the end. Death is merely earth's door to heaven. 

TO PONDER 

• Has anyone close to you died? Who? Did he or she know the Lord?

•When did he or she die, and how did you respond? 

TO PURSUE 

• If you are still grieving for a loved one who has died, take a few minutes to tell the Lord about your grief and reaffirm your trust in Him.