Grieving with Hope

Death has been a pushy reality in my life lately. Two of my friends passed away recently. I preached the funeral for one of them. My former theology professor passed away. One of my cousins passed away. My grandfather died last week, and I attended his funeral. 

There have been a lot of emotions tied to these deaths. I have had moments of sadness. There have been occasions of anger and frustration. I have smiled as good memories have come. 

I have also spent a lot of time reflecting on mortality. Death becomes more-and-more “real” to me every year. It seems I have more friends and acquaintances dying as each year passes. Death is also becoming more-and-more distasteful to me. Death is the result of sin. It is the constant reminder that this world is broken.

When considering these things, it is tempting to be morbid and depressed. However, the Spirit calls us in His Word to consider God’s plan. Christians are not called to despair and hopeless grief. As God’s people, we are to be characterized by hope.

Hope is something that marks God’s people. We are a confident people. We are not wishful thinkers or dreamers. We are people with certain, expectant confidence. 

As I battle my heart’s natural tendency to be down, the Bible reminds me that this world will be transformed (Isaiah 65:17-25). Death, pain, sadness, cancers, dementia, kidney disease, COVID – all of these things will pass away. Even better, the root cause of these destructive things will pass away. Sin will be removed, forever. Destruction itself will be destroyed. All things will be made new (1 Corinthians 15:50-57).

This will not come through the efforts of mankind. Campaigns, climate plans, economy improvements, bills, laws, presidents, and social movements will not make a new world. Christians are not to hope in these temporal things. We will not make things new.

The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus is the foundation of true confidence. He has destroyed the power of sin in His death (Romans 6:10). He is coming again to destroy sin and its effects. He will make all things new (Revelation 21:1-8). God will dwell with us and in His presence is complete joy (Psalm 16:11).

So, as I reflect on death and suffering, I join the saints of the ages. While on the one hand I grieve; on the other hand, I look for the heavenly city God has prepared for His people (Hebrews 11:13-16). Jesus is coming. He will make all things new. In this I rejoice. In this I have confidence. I grieve with hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). I pray you do as well.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.