Grief With Hope
It is hard to imagine grief with hope. Losing someone or something, having deep sorrow and pain, suffering the irritation and grief in unmet expectations, and yet still being hopeful. Hope is the grounds for knowing something good is going to happen. How then can we have a hope of good to happen while suffering the grief of bad things? Is it possible to have emotions in two separate directions at once?
Though it is hard to imagine, it is nevertheless possible to grieve and possess hope. How does one suffer deep and poignant distress, while possessing expectations for certain good? It would be nice to respond with simplicity after smacking the "easy" button and pontificate regarding the emotional complexity of hope filled grief.
Since there is no button to press, let’s proceed by faith to God’s Word. “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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, ESV) The author wants to dispel ignorance, so that Christian people might grieve differently. Why? Because the bitterness of grief upon grief can overtake a person, even while confessing Jesus as Lord. There is compound interest to grief. It can become debilitating and crushingly hopeless, even for the Christian.
Even so, by faith in Jesus Christ hope endures. The way grief and hope live together is recognition of bad things as bad, while understanding the good of being in Jesus Christ. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14, ESV)
Death is in view for this passage. Hope of mankind’s redemption is our hope in future glory, both for ourselves and those whom we love. These verses also give the believer a notion of lesser griefs in life being handled in a similarly hopeful way.
Take the time to dwell upon the rest of 1 Thessalonians 4. Those in Christ must encourage one another with these words. Friends, be encouraged in the Word of the Lord and make these truths a part of how you think and feel, so that you might handle the storm when it comes and that you might not be caught in the storms of the past.