Do you ever have that feeling that something not great is coming, but you can’t put your finger on what exactly is going on? I had that all last week and found myself way too edgy to sit down and write well. Late in the week, the phone rang and that feeling really settled in. I knew before I even answered the phone what was coming and I was right. It was another loss. This one made me consider something I hadn’t really before.
As believers, we have hope when a fellow believer dies. We know they are in heaven, praising God and we will see them again. This isn’t just whimsy; it’s not a wish. We know absolutely for certain where our believing loved ones are. But what about our unbelieving loved ones or the ones we aren’t sure about?
That moment can feel overwhelmingly hopeless. How do we comfort and encourage each other in those times?
1) Remember that hope is not lost. We don’t know the minds and hearts of others and up until the last moment, it is possible that they changed their minds. And that’s all it takes. One moment of knowing I can’t do this on my own, that I need God’s forgiveness and that’s only possible through Christ.
2) Use this as an opportunity to share how others can have hope. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the despair of grief and forget that others may be in even greater distress because they don’t have hope. Being able to share hope with people is honestly really revitalizing and it might just be the perfect time for them to hear because death and what comes after are fresh on their minds. Maybe your response to going through loss will be the catalyst someone unconnected with the loss needs to finally ask why you have hope. You never know.
3) Rejoice in the hope you do have. You know where you are headed; you know that one day there will be no more loss. You also know that in the process of getting there, God will use what you are going through for His glory and your good. It doesn’t feel good right now, but God is using this. Rejoicing doesn’t have to mean singing, laughing, smiling, and feeling happy. It is acknowledging the truth and thanking God for it. As we do that, God does an amazing work of healing that is a great testimony to others.
I’m sure there are many ways to keep our perspective during these times; this was just what came to mind.