Yesterday, my family and I went to the funeral of a very precious lady. Sister Janiver Brown, a pastor’s wife who had a long battle with cancer passed from this life on January 3, 2009. She was really a wonderful person, and her family and friends who spoke at the funeral told of her devotion to God, devotion to her husband and children, her quiet strength, her ability to be a friend and lend a listening ear and of her being a genuine Christian. I thought of how different this funeral was from many funerals I have been to in the past. I recall a difficult funeral that my husband had to conduct a few years ago. The young man was only 29 and had died from complications due to a lifestyle of drug abuse. My husband prayed with and talked with this young man while he was in the hospital about turning his life over to God. He did seem like perhaps he wanted to make a change, but then he never had the opportunity. The only thing I could really express to this young man’s mother at the funeral was how sorry I was about what happened to her son, that I would be praying for God to comfort her and give her strength and that if my husband or I could do anything to let us know.
There was something different though at Janiver Brown’s funeral and something that is different at the funeral of every person who dies righteous in Christ Jesus. Although there was definitely sorrow there, there was also hope. This is the hope that is spoken of in I Thessalonians and the hope for which I am so thankful.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.