When a Loved One Dies

“Do You Believe?”

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26).

The Lord invites us to believe in Him — in hope of life after death. Why? Because we must have a hope beyond the grave.

God knows we are going to face storms. He knows that we are human and we have frailties. God knew that this—the loss of a loved one—would be one of the tougher tests of life. So He gave us navigational points by which we could stay on a steady course. And it’s not just about those who are deceased. It’s more about those of us who are yet alive.

When a loved one dies and you are at a memorial service, did you know it’s a classroom for you? It is not for those who are deceased; it’s for the living.

Outside of a memorial service, we very seldom think about eternity. If there were never any tragedies, if you never got into any problems, you would not think about eternity. But, God says when this happens, it’s a wake-up call.

I want to give you three navigational points. What lessons can we learn in the classroom of death to pass the test of life?

  1. Our Life on Earth is Brief
  2. When a loved one dies and you are a memorial service, the first thing you realize is: our life on earth is brief. It’s so fast!

    “My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath” (Ps. 39:5).

    Life’s just that fast — no longer than my hand, a moment or a breath. God’s Word compares our short lives to the shortest things we know so that we value every moment, every breath.

    There is a reason, however, for being on this Earth:

    We Have One Main Assignment

    We have one main assignment in this brief life. The point of God’s Word is that we will believe in Jesus Christ and have life. That’s God’s main concern for each of us and so He focused on just that. Our lives have been given to us to make a decision about Jesus Christ. And we have to get this settled because this is what gives us hope beyond this life. There is no other hope beyond the grave.

  3. We’re Not Immune from the World’s Sins and We Don’t Control Every Event
  4. You cannot control every event that happens in this world. You cannot control how long someone is going to live or when they will die. And you are not immune from people’s sins or the world’s mistakes.

    And it is because we cannot be in control of life’s events that we must be under the covering of the One who is in control. And God doesn’t make mistakes. He is in control and you can rest in Him.

    “You don’t know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

    Sometimes we think we can control things. Then when things happen, like when a loved one dies, the grief is even deeper than we expected. You must, therefore, realize that we need a Savior.

  5. God is Worthy to be Trusted 

When a loved one dies, we must look at the situation through the perspective of God’s character and not through the tragedy or through our conflicting emotions. View it though His steady, unchanging character of love.

Sure, there are going to be tears, but trusting God turns these tears of sorrow into tears of hope.

Hell Isn’t for People

God does not send anyone to hell. God didn’t prepare hell for people:

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matt. 25:41)

Who did God prepare hell for? The devil and his angels — fallen angels who followed the devil in rebellion against God. God has prepared heaven for people!

“In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

God prepared a place for every single one of us. He intends for us to end up in heaven. He doesn’t want anyone to perish, but that all people would come to repentance. God created and paid for our entry into eternity. Heaven is where He wants us to end up!

Lasting Words of Hope

All of us will face the loss of a loved one and the grief of missing them. Be assured that our heavenly Father embraces us in our pain and grief and offers us the gift of hope. He’s given us a future beyond the grave!

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