His Encouragement: We grieve with hope

His Encouragement: We grieve with hope

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This post is part of the series His Encouragement

Other posts in this series:

  1. His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for your Thursday
  2. His Encouragement: Psalm 147:3
  3. His Encouragement: Psalm 37:3

Welcome! Welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Encouragement

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
— John 11:25-26, ESV

As I write this, I sit in an old delicate wood chair with a beautiful needlepoint design on the cushion that my mother purchased at a local secondhand shop a few years ago because it bore remarkable resemblance to a chair that had been passed down from her great-grandmother… once part of a dining room set where each of her great-grandmother’s many siblings had their own chair which they passed down in their respective families.

Outside the desert sun is shining bright and warm and my father mows the vibrant green grass. Inside, I listen to the hum of an oxygen machine and, every few seconds, I look away from the computer on my lap to gaze at the sleeping face of my mother. She lies comfortably in a hospital-style bed with her hands lightly across atop her stomach. Her breathing is labored but the medications have finally eased her pain enough for her to rest. She has not been able to lie comfortably on her back like this for many months. Perhaps since last December before the holidays.

Thank God, my mom is able to be home again. Over the last three weeks, that is one of the few things she asked for repeatedly. “I just want to go home,” she said many times. Tuesday evening, her wish was granted by home hospice care. It happened quickly, within a few hours, and I am so grateful I was able to be with her during that time.

The house is filled with various noises — the oxygen machine, the ceiling fan, the lawn mower, beautiful music drifting softly from the stereo — yet also quiet. Throughout the day, she has had visitors come to see her and talk with her: family, friends, church members. But she is now sleeping. It is that time where afternoon transitions into the evening, and usually this house would be filled with life and activity. My mom would usually be cooking in the kitchen, preparing yet another amazing culinary masterpiece that was both healthy and delicious. She loved being in the kitchen. In fact, I think she chose this particular house largely in part because of the kitchen.

Five years ago when I first stepped foot in my mom’s dream house to do a final walkthrough for them as my parents were still on the other side of the country, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that now, today, my mom would be resting in this beautiful living room under hospice care. She is young, too young, and until eight months ago was so vibrant and full of life.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, the apostle Paul wrote: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” Notice how he never says that we will not grieve. He specifically says “may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

What is this hope?

It is the hope of the resurrection. “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (vs 16)

It is the hope founded on Christ’s victory over sin and death. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus…” (vs 14)

It is the hope of eternal life with the Lord God Almighty and those who chose to accept His free gift of salvation. “Then we […] will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (vs 17)

The Promise of Resurrection

There are times in this life where we will experience pain, sorrow, and death. It is not fair. It will hurt. We will cry. We will grieve. Christ Himself wept from sorrow due to Lazarus’ death. (John 11:35)

Yet death does not have to be the end. Like Martha, we can believe in Christ’s power to resurrect the righteous dead. The conversation recorded in the Gospel of John between our Savior and a heartbroken Martha, grieving the loss of her beloved brother, is so important.

So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 

Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 

She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

— John 11:20-27, ESV

Often Martha gets a bad rap from a previous conversation between her and Jesus (Luke 10:38-42), but as I am experiencing my own mother lying beside me dying, I find myself being like Martha in John 11. I want to cry out to God: “Why? Why can’t You just heal Mom as You have done to others? Why must she suffer in pain? Why can’t she be here to watch her grandchildren grow up?”

I am selfish. I want my mom to make it to Monday, which is my older son’s second birthday. I want her to be here for Thanksgiving (her favorite holiday) and Christmas. I want her here next February for my younger son’s first birthday. I want to be able to send her those “Good morning!” text messages with silly emoticons that I did almost every morning since I moved out on my own. I want to call her up when I have a hard day or need advise or just to chat, because she always made me feel better. I want her here with my dad, my sisters and our families for five, ten, fifteen, twenty more years.

When it comes to someone we love, there is never enough time. Yes, we grieve but we grieve with hope. Click To Tweet

But I don’t want her to be in pain. I don’t want her to suffer anymore. I want her to rest, to sleep, in peace. Yes, I find myself being Martha. “Lord, if You will it, my mother would not be dying.” But I cannot be angry because I know that pain, illness, death… these are symptoms and consequences of sin and never part of God’s original plan for this world. If I hurt this badly for my mother, how much more does a loving and kind Creator God who willing experienced death — not just the first physical death but the second spiritual death of complete and utter separation and nothingness — for us on the cross. How much more does this beautiful, loving Creator, Redeemer, Friend hurt for every single human being that has lived, is living, or will live? There will come a day when He will bring an end to all of the suffering.

Oh, that bright and glorious day! That day when the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. That wonderful and great day when sin and all of its ugly, painful effects will be no more. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, ESV)

Yes, we grieve. We grieve deeply. But we grieve with hope.

Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? Are you or a loved one facing death? Here are 9 Bible Verses to Comfort You during this difficult time. Now, more than ever, you need to cling to the Lord and hold fast to that which is good. (Romans 12:9) If you need someone to talk to or pray with you, please leave a comment below or email me.


Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:

Hi there, blogger. Would you like to join us in sharing encouragement from the Word of God every Thursday? Don’t be shy! Contact Trisha or Nicole today!

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