A Promise to the Bereaved

April 13, 2022
Personal Growth
A Holy Thursday Devotional

Death is a difficult reality. We all know it comes at some point. But preparing for it is tough. So whether the disciples would have known ahead or not, I’m pretty sure that they won’t be prepared either.

I could say the same about losing my sister.

My sister was my best friend.

She knew everything about me and I knew everything about her because through the brightest of days and the darkest of nights, we shared everything with one another despite the distance of her studying abroad.

So when the darkest night hit in January 2021, I felt my world shatter. Lizzie was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer, and despite a year of journeying together in prayer and fellowship with each other and amongst other believers, she passed away on February 13th 2022. 

Has it been easy? Nope. Have I completely moved on already? Absolutely not. But the hope for me is this: God’s plan is good. My hope is that the same will comfort you who have needed to go through the same thing.

It is written

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

A lot of Christians point to this verse and think that this speaks of the concept that as Jesus’ followers, we will not be experiencing any harm and that only good times are ahead if we only believe. Let's not misunderstand what the Word is saying here.

In the context of this verse, the Jews were going through a tough time under the dominion of the Egyptian and Babylonian empires and right before going into exile in Babylon. That doesn't sound very harmless or hopeful. Living with grief and loss is the same, but it remains that God's plan is indeed good and it is to prosper His people despite how it looks at the moment. As God delivered His people from oppressive foreign rule, He will deliver us from our season of grief.

How confident can we be that God’s plan is good? Because it's consistent with His character. God is good. God is loving. But more than that, He is love.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16 ESV)

The very concept that God is the definition of love means that He cannot be not love, nor even be unloving. He is the standard of what love is supposed to look like. In our limited understanding as humans of what that good and loving nature is “supposed to be” we might sometimes question how a loving God can let a loved one pass away. But as Job experienced, asking this will only reveal to us how much we don't understand about God's perfect goodness, chief of which is why a perfect God would sacrifice His perfect son for imperfect, unloving people like you and me.

The truth is that we deserve death, but that's not what we receive as His disciples — at least not permanently.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV

If anyone knows the pain of losing a loved one, it's Him, because while we deserve death for our sins, there is no reason apart from our salvation that Jesus had to die. And my joy is in knowing that it is because of that sacrifice that Lizzie gets to enjoy eternal life. He knows your pain, but in our mourning, we are guaranteed comfort. 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 ESV)

So fellow Christian, while it remains to be difficult to mourn, as I am still going through as well, look to God's love that endures forever and give thanks for it (Psalm 107:1)

REFLECTION QUESTION:

Have you lost a loved one? How does the promise of the resurrection of Jesus Christ bring hope and comfort to you in this season?

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