Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
I have spoken these words beside many a gaping grave that is ready to swallow up the earthly remains of someone who lived and loved but is now dead. At those times it can seem like I am tossing a thimble of hope into an ocean of despair, but that is not the intention. The purpose of directing our attention to key verses like 1 Thess. 4:13-14 and others in times of grief and trial is to remind us of what we already know, to draw us back to what is already, ideally, the bedrock of our life so that we remember and are encouraged to go forth in faith knowing that, because of Jesus, we have a sure and certain hope even in the face of death because Jesus has overcome death for us.
This means that, in between crises, we invite Jesus to come in and examine the bedrock of our own personal life, toss out what is corrupt or faulty and lay down a foundation of truths like,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16);
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new had come” (2 Cor. 5:17);
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer life, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20);
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19); and
“For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thess. 4:14).
That firm foundation will not only give us hope, encouragement and strength as we face a crisis, it will undergird our entire being as we build our life upon it. Jesus is our chief cornerstone and he will never fail us.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for your love and grace. Please come into my life and show me the parts of my life bedrock that need to be dug up and thrown away. Please plant your truth deep in my heart and be the foundation of my life. Amen.