Another shocking death rocked our community last Friday—a recent high school graduate. It seems like there have been an unusual number of fatal accidents and terminal diagnoses the last few months. They’ve affected both young and old. Death jolts us with finality; grief hangs over us like a cloud. 
No matter how old, we’re never ready for our loved ones to die. Even though we know it’s inevitable, death still surprises us. We wish we could have just one more day with them. We cry, we question, we rage, and, when we let ourselves, we work through the grieving process. Yet some people live with hope.
Our bodies are destined to die, but our souls live forever. For those who follow Christ in this life, there is the hope of eternity in heaven with Him. We still miss our loved ones, but we know it will only be a little while until we can see them, never to be parted again. 
Paul wrote this to the believers in Thessalonica:
“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. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
What does all this mean? Here’s a bite by bite:
Death is not a permanent state. For the Christian, it’s a passageway to eternity with God. That’s why when a believer dies, no matter how sudden or tragic or young, other believers are confident they will see them again. 
Christians base their hope on the fact of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. We are looking forward to the Rapture—when Jesus comes back to earth to gather His children and take us home. 
When He comes, He’s going to bring everyone who died as Christians with Him. What a reunion that will be!

This is encouraging news, even though we miss those who’ve died. We still ache to hold them; the bed still feels empty; we miss their laughter; and the holidays are never the same, but we have hope.
What about unbelievers? Not everyone who dies goes to heaven to be with Jesus. The Bible is very clear. God does not sendpeople to hell; they choose it themselves when they turn away from Him. God will not force anyone to spend eternity with Him in heaven, who does not want to know Him while on earth. He gives us the freedom to choose. 
For the unbeliever, death is the entrance to eternity without God. Now is the time to decide—glorious hope, or uncertainty and despair? 
My dear friend, if you don’t know Jesus, I encourage you to check out His story in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John of the Bible and decide for yourself. 
Was He who He claimed to be? 
Did the prophecies about Him throughout the Old Testament come true? 
Could a mere man predict specifics about his birth, death, and resurrection and make them all come true? 
Do you want to be free from sin and guilt?
You can be. Ask Jesus to reveal himself to you. And learn what it means to hope even when you’re grieving.
#lifeafterdeath #grieving #whenJesuscomes #Rapture  #1Thess4:13-18