Dear Friends,

In my previous article I mentioned the passing of my friend, Pastor Dave Richards.  Dave and I were extremely close and my heart has been heavy with grief these past couple of weeks.

It is in this time of grief that I am reminded just what we have as Christians that other people don’t.  I have done funerals for families who don’t have a foundation of faith.  Their grieving is completely different.  It is filled with hopelessness, emptiness.  It is confusing, and meaningless.

The Apostle Paul writes to the Christians in Thessalonica,

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.

Yes, we grieve, but with the hope (assured expectation) we will be reunited again with the Lord and with our loved one.  There are promises we receive as Christians that carry us through a time of grief.

HERE ARE 7 ADVANTAGES CHRISTIANS HAVE IN TIMES OF GRIEF:

  1. We have Victory over Sin and Death—For those of us who have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ we need not fear death but are convinced we have victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 8:37 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

  1. We have Fullness of Joy—Only those who have walked through the valley of the shadow of death with the Lord as their shepherd know the amazing paradox that you can be deeply grieving and experiencing inexpressible joy at the same time.  This is evidence of God’s supernatural provision in a time of hurt.

1 Peter 1:8 (NIV84) Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

  1. We have Perfect Peace—God provides peace that is unexplainable.  In the midst of grief we can experience a sense of well-being and calmness being convinced that God is in control and a “very present help in time of need.”

 

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

  1. We have Unconditional Love—God’s love is poured out on us through a time of grief through the Holy Spirit, other people and the church.  God makes His love known to us even as we are deeply hurting.

 

Ephesians 3:19 (NLT) May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

  1. We have Compassionate ComfortGod comforts us during times of hurt.  His presence and strength sustain and encourage us as we grieve.

 

2 Corinthians 1:3 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.

  1. We have Wise Guidance—Christians have the blessing of being led by God as we face decisions and choices as a result of the loss of our loved one.  He directs each step as we acknowledge Him and trust in Him.

 

Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

  1. We have an Encouraging Hope—We endure suffering with the assurance that a better future awaits us.  This is not some hollow promise or wishful thinking, but a solid guarantee provided through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

1 Peter 1:3b (NIV84) In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

 

Because Jesus lives we are assured that Pastor Dave is more alive than he has ever been.  When he took his last breath on earth, he took his next breath in the presence of his Lord in heaven.  He has already appeared before Christ to receive his reward and has heard the words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Lord!” (Matt. 25:23).

 

1 Corinthians 15:53–57 (NLT) For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.  Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.  But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

You may be grieving right now like I am.  Or you may know of someone who is grieving.  Encourage them through the Scriptures I’ve listed above so that they can grieve with hope!

Onward with hope,

Pastor Gary