The apostle Paul teaches of Jesus coming for His church in First Thessalonians 4 beginning with verse 13. He instructs us so we “Will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” We deeply grieve and will continue to grieve at the loss of our precious daughters, but not without hope of seeing them again one day. We are thankful for the years of relationship with the Lord Jesus and the fellowship of other believers. We have been able to study and pass on to our children the Word of God and have learned, experienced and have anticipation for the hope in the promises of God which He will fulfill in us. The most important being stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that, “The Lord will descend from heaven and the dead in Christ and those who are alive in Christ will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” Our ultimate hope is to be in heaven together with our Lord and loved ones that have gone on before us.
We often ask ourselves how we can stay focused on God with all the distractions going on around us grabbing our eyes and minds. We are reminded and greatly encouraged by 1 John 3:1, where it tells us, “Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God.” We need to see God’s love for us and His desire to identify us as His own. Verses 2-3 tell us, “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We will know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself just as He is pure…” Our focus is to be on what God the Father says about us, God’s work of grace in us to make us like Jesus, and God’s intention to bring us to be at home forever with Him and each other in heaven.
Hebrews 6:19 tells us, “This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” This is how we can look strong or at peace, though we are weak and brokenhearted. Our hope of heaven is through God’s provision of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for forgiveness of our sins, making it possible for us to live eternally with Him.
Jesus says in John 14, “Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places…I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.” This hope and fulfilling of God’s promise is for our life now as well as in heaven. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans that I have for you“, declares the Lord, “plans for good and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope.”
Our faith stays strong as we hold onto God’s love and heavenly perspective; setting aside our own limited reasoning. Everything about our lives can be viewed from a higher, eternal perspective if we chose to believe God at His word. Relationships with God and with His people are the only things that will survive this world and continue for eternity. If you believe the words you’ve just read to be the TRUTH, we urge you, just as Jesus said and as we read it underlined in Nikki’s Bible in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.“
As we give ourselves to the things that last forever we can say along with the apostle Paul and Krista, as we read from her journal, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
Forever in Christ,
Joe and Debbie Mayer