“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
John 14:1 ESV
Even if everything in this life looks terrible for us, we as Christians always have the promises of complete victory in heaven. We can experience victory in the here-and-now, but even if we don’t experience it here and now – we have the ultimate victory! It can help us endure difficult circumstances when we put them in light of eternity and think about the fact that one day this will all be over and we will be in perfection, with Jesus, for eternity. In 10,000 years’ time whatever challenges you are facing now will be forgotten.
Many people mourn the death of a loved one as though it’s final, but it isn’t. We are created for eternity, and death in this world simply helps us pass from this life into eternity with Jesus, or eternity without Him.
“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.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13 NLT
As Christians we do not mourn as the world mourns. When a believer dies they do not simply cease to exist but rather they pass on into eternity with Jesus. The world doesn’t have this hope and so death fills them with fear and uncertainty, but as Christians we have hope. We therefore have no need to fear or have any uncertainty with death.
“21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.”
Philippians 1:21-24 NLT
Paul had a great perspective on death. He knew that death is not final and was torn between staying here and reaching people for Christ or dying and going to be with Christ. Most Christians haven’t established the truth about eternity in their hearts, and as a result when it comes to death they are uncertain and tend to fear.
When a loved one dies, we mourn because we will miss them. The grief that we experience is in proportion to the depth of relationship that we experienced with them. It’s not wrong to mourn and be sad for our loss – but if you want to move on in the purposes of God for your life, then you need to deal with the grief by putting things into perspective (in light of eternity).
When a believer dies they pass on into eternity with Jesus. To deal with our grief we can stop focusing on what we’re going through and start focusing on what they are experiencing in heaven. My Dad passed away in 2010 and my first response to the news was thanksgiving and praise to God that my Dad was a believer and is now with Jesus. From that day for the next few years the temptation was to think things like “He’s missing out on seeing me get married”. But if I put things in perspective, heaven is far better, and I am missing out on him more than he’s missing out on my wedding. “He’s missing out on seeing any of his grandchildren”… but who says? Maybe he’s watching and enjoying it from the comfort of heaven. Maybe he’s not. Maybe he’s just so distracted at the awesome glory and presence of Jesus that in comparison, the things he is missing out on here on earth are really, really insignificant.
I often think of my dad and miss him. But I choose not to indulge in those feelings of sadness, and I always immediately thank God for his life and that I will see him one day in heaven. We do not mourn as those without hope.
The enemy will try to use the death of a loved one to cause us to stop moving forward in the purposes of God. It’s not wrong to mourn the passing of a loved one, but we should not camp there and allow the mourning to overtake us.
When my dad was alive, I often thought about how I would handle his death one day – because he wasn’t a believer. But I thank God that I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with him and lead him to salvation. It is something to be mourned when an unsaved loved one passes away. In a situation like that you can only allow the supernatural comfort of the Holy Spirit to help you – there are no words. Jesus called the Holy Spirit “the Comforter” (John 14:26) and so you can experience supernatural comfort to help you through.
Thinking about this should stir us up to live out our calling to be witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8) and share God’s message with our loved ones (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). It should cause us to pray for them even more earnestly, and take and create opportunities to witness to them. Don’t allow passivity to keep you from ministering to your unsaved loved ones, and don’t lose hope concerning someone’s salvation – as long as they are breathing there is hope.