Garamond – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
Our time is limited here. We are born in time, we grow in time, and we perish in time. Time marches onward steadily marked by the tick-tock of the clock. We have at most eighty years, if we have the strength we can live longer. It just seems though, that all too often the obituaries in the newspaper are a list of people who fell asleep before their time. Death is difficult. It is a separation. From life, from friend, from family, and from everything else. But it a gathering to something wonderful.
2 Timothy 2:11-13,
“11Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.”
You must grieve what is lost, but celebrate that it is found where thief cannot steal or moth cannot destroy. There is a reason to live, because you might just see that wonderful thing come to pass.
“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!” – Abraham Lincoln, ‘Address Before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin’ – September 30th, 1859.