A dear friend of my husband’s died recently. He was young. It was very unexpected. It was quick. There was not time to stay goodbye. While we are grieving, we know that his wife and his young children grieve much more tangibly.
How do people “move on” after a death like this? How do we continue to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ when there is such (seemingly) unnecessary heartbreak in this world?
I was encouraged by the words spoken at this young man’s funeral. Words of hope and encouragement. It was not hope in this life, nor encouragement to “move on” and celebrate his life. No, it was gospel words. Gospel hope. Speaker after speaker exhorted us to cling to our hope in the gospel even while we grieve.
In many ways, Christians grieve just like everyone else. We cry. We yell at God. We hug our loved ones. We gather together for a funeral, sharing stories, laughs, and tears. We lay awake at night struggling with doubt, or guilt, or sadness. Death hurts us, even though we know that death is not the end.
This is where gospel hope changes our grief. Gospel hope reminds us that this world is not our home, but we do have a home! A much better home. An eternal home.
We can trust that our loved ones left our loving embrace to run into the waiting embrace of Jesus Christ, a far better and worthy and eternal lover of our souls. Gospel hope reminds us that Jesus did not merely take the wrath of God from us, but He also gave us his own perfect righteousness, allowing him to build a house for us in heaven and invite us to the wedding banquet with him at our side.
One day, death and tears and grief will be no more. (Rev. 21:4). Does this take away the pain of death today? No. We grieve the death of our friend. But Jesus has taken away the sting of death, the victory of death. He has given us life eternal with him.