Summary: Saying goodbye is heard. Grief hurts but God's promises will bring us through!
Goodbyes, Grief & God’s Promises
This sermon is summed up in its title …”Goodbyes, Grief & God’s Promises” Everyone here has endured the loss of a loved one at some time or another. Whether the loss occurred 5 months or 50 years ago there is still an element of sadness.
I visited my grandmother several years ago and I could tell that she had been crying. I asked what was wrong and she said that my grandfather had died 37 years earlier on that very day. No doubt she will grieve for him as long as she lives.
There was a lady who was a recent widow. One of her coworkers was attracted to her and wanted to ask her out on a date. He nervously approached her and uttered the most beautiful pick up line you have ever heard, He said … and I quote “So, your husband has been dead for 6 months, are you over it yet?” Needless to say he did not get a date.
Losing a precious loved one is not something that you “get over”. “Grief” is defined as “intense sorrow: great sadness, especially as a result of a death”
Author Edgar Jackson properly describes grief: Grief is a young widow trying to raise her three children, alone. Grief is the man so filled with uncertainty and confusion that he lashes out at the nearest person. Grief is a mother walking daily to a nearby cemetery to stand quietly and alone a few minutes before going about the tasks of the day. Grief is the silent, knife-like terror and sadness that comes a hundred times a day, when you start to speak to someone who is no longer there. Grief is the emptiness that comes when you eat alone after eating with another for many years.Grief is teaching yourself to go to bed without saying good night to the one who had died. Grief is the helpless wishing that things were different when you know they are not and never will be again. Grief is a whole cluster of adjustments, apprehensions, and uncertainties that strike life in its forward progress and make it difficult to redirect the energies of life. - Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 171.
Grief will come in our lives; no one is immuned to it. But for the child of God we are not without hope! Paul says as much in our verses tonight - “Do not grieve like those who have no hope.” - Yes death hurts, sadness and sorrow will come but Jesus will not forsake you in your time of grief.
I like what David said in Psalm 30: …”weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”..........In our selected text the Apostle Paul attempts to comfort the Thessalonian believers. They were sorrowful and mourned the death of their loved ones. They were uncertain about their “present state”. As believers we know all the verses concerning death & Heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
John 14:1 ¶Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Philippians 1:21 ¶For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Though we know these verses and even believe them, at times we may be blinded by our grief. If you have had to say goodbye to a precious loved one… if you are consumed with grief …I want you to know that God has given you some promises that will help you in this moment of sorrow. Let’s look at a few of these promises. We will begin with the fact that:
I. We Have The Promise Of Rest - v3 ¶But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
The Thessalonian believers were concerned about their loved ones who had died. Paul declares that they were acting like the gentiles, who possessed no hope. The Gentile (the unbeliever) had no hope of a resurrection. They had nothing to look forward to. But the believers had hope …they had a great hope of a better day and a better place! When we find ourselves blinded by grief we often lose focus of the promises that we have as believers. We become defeated and discouraged and even depressed.Sometimes the tears that fill our eyes hinder our vision of what is to come. We don’t have all the answers concerning what happens to the believer when they draw their last breath. But we do know enough to possess great hope and assurance concerning our loved ones who have gone home.