by Dave Hintz
A few weeks ago I got a phone call from a friend who I have not heard from in a long time. Instead, of the cheerful banter of re-aquainted companions, the somber tone of her voice conveyed sad the news that Jarid, a close friend of mine, died of a blood clot. As a young man with little to no experience of death, I found myself confused as to how to act. I reflected on the stages of grief, which I learned a few years ago in my psychology class:
1. Denial: The phase in which one denies the reality of death.
2. Bargaining: The phase in which one believes that he can change the reality of death.
3. Anger: A response triggered by a sense that the bereaved did not do enough.
4. Grief: True sadness in which one accepts the situation.
5. Resolution: One finally deals and accepts death.
Yet, in my years of Bible study I began to question such an approach to grieving, especially over the death of a believer like Jarid. I Thess. 4:13 states, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.” Paul argues that Christian grieving should different and distinct from the world. The one factor that seems to separate Christian grieving from worldly grieving is the idea of hope. Many in the world manufacture their own religion and place their faith in an idol constructed in the recesses of the mind. Yet, the Christian has the comfort of the God of the Bible. His Word promises that as surely as Christ himself rose from the grave, so will he raise our loved ones who died in Christ Jesus from the dead. Thus, as we enter into the Sacred City, we not only have the hope of being in heaven with our Savior, but a glorified throng of individuals who we have loved and lost will greet us. Essentially, the death of a believer heightens our hope as it provides us with one more reason to look forward to heaven. Grieving is a natural reaction to the loss of a loved one, as we miss their friendship and companionship. Yet, we must make sure that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. The Bible promises that we will see those who died in Christ again, the only unresolved issue that remains is whether or not we choose to believe it in the depths of our heart.