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Take Me Back Day 13

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Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will nogrieve like people who have no hope.

Devotional: The most magnificent part about the promise of Christ’s return is that we always have hope, even in the most dire of circumstances, particularly when we grieve the loss of a loved one.  There is no greater assurance in the midst of the agony of grief than knowing that you will one day be reunited with that person so dear to you.  And to know they are experiencing the joy of the present Heaven, and the very presence of God and His Son Jesus Christ, brings comfort in our pain.

How gracious of our God to give us understanding of what will happen when our fellow believers die. It’s a source of consolation.  But there is a flip side to this understanding:  a motivation to share our hope in Christ, so that our loved ones will experience the promise of eternal life.  1 Peter 3:15 reminds us, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 

Sometimes the hardest people to share our faith with is our closest friends and family.  But let the hope of heaven be your motivation to overcome whatever challenges you may have in sharing Jesus with them.  And remember to pray continually for them.  It may take years, decades even, for them to come to Christ. But never give up.

There’s a story of a  little girl who gave her life to Jesus at the age of nine after hearing the Good News of His salvation.  She couldn’t wait to share with her parents, particularly her mother, who she loved dearly.  But the news wasn’t well received, and for years, any time she would talk about Jesus, the wall would go up between her mother and her. 

She watched her beloved mother struggle with endless heartache over the years:  the loss of a child, debilitating anxiety, an excruciating divorce, and a downward spiraling addiction.  She prayed earnestly for decades and took every opportunity to share her faith with her mother, but to no avail.  Her mother would never allow the love of Christ to penetrate her heart. 

Until one day.

After 35 years of praying, her mother hit rock bottom, surrendered her life to Christ and began her journey of sobriety.  She became a completely different person. The daughter saw 2 Corinthians 5:17 come to life in her mother: “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” She witnessed a true miracle.  Her prayers had been answered.

For the next twelve years, this transformed mother shared her hope in Jesus with countless lives until she was called home to Heaven.  And when she took her last breath, hands held by those of her daughter, the sweet assurance of Heaven filled the room and brought hope and light in that dark and grievous moment.  Death was present, but had indeed lost its sting.

Friend, never stop praying for and sharing Jesus with those you love- that you may be able to grieve with hope when they breathe their last breath, and you will be able to envision them flying away to their heavenly home. 

Reflect:

  • Who needs your fervent prayers and willingness to share the hope you have in Jesus Christ? Would you commit or continue to pray for them?