13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died[a] so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. I Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT
I’ve learned that at some point in life, scriptures like the one above requires an experience to really grasp its truth, and see the manifestation of God’s word come alive in our life. Here’s a brief explanation of my personal experience.
When I arrived in my mother’s hospital room on December 18, 2003, I knew time was of the essence. I made the most of it by staying at her beside, and preparing her to transition from this earthly life to her home in glory. I focused on releasing her and assuring her that I would be all right because I was in hands of my REAL FATHER. I knew that was her major concern, being her only child. I could feel her sorrow, look into her eyes, and see the pain wrought from the thought of leaving me behind and naturally alone; yet knowing I would never be alone, nor forsaken by Abba Father.
On December 26, 2003, she quietly and peacefully went to sleep. Her transition from this life to her new life in paradise changed my life forever. This is the greatest pain I have ever experienced. Yes, greater than childbirth. BUT, God’s GRACE proved sufficient for me. He gave me supernatural strength to handle all the details for the Homegoing celebration—there was no one else (no sisters or brothers) to do it—my Daddy came through just for me.<
When death’s painful arrows pierce your soul, especially at the loss of a dear mother, I encourage you to seek relief in the promise and presence of God. My choice of relief was to apply the Word of God. I vividly recalled how the Word of the Lord came to me a few days before I left for Louisiana. I heard very clearly in my spirit while I was sleep, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It was my Father’s assurance that He would carry me through the experience I was about to face. I had to learn how to grieve with hope! It was now time for me to really believe the Word of God, and stand firmly trusting Him to carry me through.
In retrospect, I learned from the life of faith, hope and love my mother had lived before me. I remembered that for ten years she had lived with hopeful grief. This same hope brought her through two major surgeries and months of chemotherapy. This same hope empowered her to live life to the fullest in spite of her prognosis. Witnessing my mother’s faith and hope in Jesus Christ until the end assured me of her eternal life, and increased my trust in a Sovereign God. For the first time, I literally experienced the sufficiency of God’s grace in my weakness.
Experiencing the pain caused by my mother’s passing seemed unbearable, but it is the hope of eternal life that made the difference (I Thess. 4:13-15). When facing death, hope can be the bridge that makes crossing over to the other side a more peaceful process. Whether three years, or five years, or 10, 20, or 30, who is to say? Only by the grace of God, does the grieving process end. Surely, the more you hold steadfast to His Word, the greater your assurance will be in His faithfulness to keep His promises. Sure, for me, I still feel the pain of separation at Mother’s Day; seeing those whose mothers are still alive. Nevertheless, I have learned pain management through WORD medication, and sharing love with others—the mothers of my local church, and sharing my experience to encourage others through the grieving process.
I just want to remind you: God will comfort and strengthen his people in times of sorrow.
His Word is truth… His grace is sufficient! He is the God of all comfort! He is the Prince of Peace! He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you! You are the apple of His eye!
In memory of Mrs. Deva Mae Franks Horn (July 12, 1932 ~ December 26, 2003)