Friday, April 30

So Shall We Ever Be With The Lord

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV)

We look forward to being reunited with our loved ones who are asleep in Jesus, and that is part of our hope. This is a happy addition to (or perhaps even just a really wonderful byproduct of) our truest hope: being always, forever with the Lord. We will see Him face to face, and we will know Him as we are known by Him. Being with our Savior is the centerpiece of our hope, and what draws us to look toward the future with confident expectation of the mysterious and wonderful things in store for us.

One of the results of the trials of our lives, and I suppose the highest purpose for them, is that we begin to be able to say along with the psalmist:
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:25, 26)

Trials make our hope more hopeful. It is through trials that our hope grows into something more steadfast and more tangible, because it through trials that hope becomes more and more centered on what is most real, but as yet unseen to us: the impossible-to-break promise of the One we have come to desire most, Who pledges to us that we shall be forever with Him.