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. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. Then we who are alive, who are left, 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. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
When I read today’s verses earlier in the week I thought I knew how I would approach them. Then I learned about the death of a high school friend, Emmett. We first met the summer before the seventh grade and were friends through college. We saw each other almost every day, went on trips together and along with our mutual friend Mike were best of friends. The one day Emmett dropped out of sight. He moved and changed phone numbers and I lost touch completely.
Wednesday morning I came into the office to see an email from Mike. Emmett had died. Even though it had been well over 25 years since we had last talked I still felt a profound loss. I do not make close friends easily and Emmett and Mike were my oldest. But my feeling of loss was tempered by the knowledge that Emmett and I will one day see each other again. It will be a joyous reunion. You see even though we lost touch we had Jesus in common. And in today’s verses we see Paul telling us that even though a friend dies that is not the end of the friendship. Jesus will call Emmett and then if I am still among the living He will call me. So even in sadness that we never managed to get back together and now will never have that opportunity here, I feel great joy that I know where Emmett is now and that one day we will be reunited in friendship through the saving grace of Jesus.
Have a blessed day,