Hopeful grief

In a letter written to the church at Thessalonica St Paul wrote these words, ‘Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.’

The truth of these words has been heartbreakingly illustrated in the response of Samuel Barker’s parents, following his tragic death in a road traffic accident outside his school. Paying tribute to him they said, “While we wish we might have had longer with Samuel, we know that he is now with the Lord Jesus Christ in eternal peace. Samuel himself had real faith. Some months ago he wrote these words: ‘I trust in Jesus. I am so excited to go to heaven’. We all look forward to seeing him there too.”

Samuel’s death is a devastating blow for his family and they will grieve. His loss will leave an ache in their hearts that they will carry for the rest of their lives. But because of their faith in Jesus their grief is not hopeless. In a godless universe their grief might be all-consuming. But their personal knowledge of God in Jesus means that instead his love consumes their grief.

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