Truth Be Told
David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
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. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 [ESV]
I will lead devotions for the Texas District pastors conference in October. The theme of the conference is “Respond, Recover and Rebuild,” and is intended to help pastors deal with post-covid realities and challenges. My devotion will be titled, “Truth Be Told.” I’ll use the Matthew West song [see below] by that title as part of our time of self-reflection, confession of sins and sharing the forgiveness of Christ.
Several widows were present at the funeral last Saturday for a long-time member and leader of our church. Speaking with them they each expressed continuing sadness and grief some months and even years after their husbands had died. There are empty places in their hearts where their husbands had been. Grief is not a once-and-done experience.
Sometimes well-meaning Christians want to minimize the sense of loss and grief by saying how much better off their loved-one is because he is in no more pain. Their struggles are over. He is with Jesus. The dying is ended. All this is true, but it’s only half of the story. And Christians need to tell the truth about that other half.
The truth that needs to be told in regard to death and grief is that it is real, painful, and draining. To some extent it is the price of love. We miss the loved-one who has died. There is a hole in our hearts and in his favorite chair. So it is good and right that we should grieve. It’s just that we don’t grieve as others do who have no hope. For we have hope that one day we will be reunited with our loved ones with Jesus. We and all the saints of God will be together in a place where every tear will be wiped away. We will enjoy a rest that has no end and is fully refreshing.
Truth be told: death hurts. Truth be told: death does not have the final say. Truth be told, we’ll likely need to relearn this again and again until we are with Jesus and all the saints. Truth be told: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,” says Jesus (Matthew 5:4). Truth be told, Jesus will never break that promise.