Grieving But With Hope

Friday, November 3, 2023
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Listen while you read: "Jesus Friend Of Little Children"1 (Lyrics)

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 not grieve like people who have no hope. (NLT)

I fought the lump growing in my throat.

Susie and I had been friends for almost thirty years. Although our lives had taken us in different directions — she settled in the same town that she had grown up in while I left the state for college and moved around in the state to pastor churches — periodically we reconnected with each other and caught up.

When Susie found the man she wanted to marry, she called me and asked if I would perform the ceremony. I did, and laughed when her soon-to-be husband pulled a wet washcloth from his suit coat pocket to wipe his face to keep from passing out. A number of years later, when her daughter found the man she wanted to marry, Susie called on me again, and I married her daughter.

My wife and I had not heard from Susie in a while, but my wife was startled when she came across a Facebook post from Susie's daughter. Susie had contracted COVID. Because she had some underlying health problems, the virus had attacked her body with a fury. Doctors admitted her to the hospital — and soon to ICU, where she was vented and put in an induced coma.

The next day, Susie's daughter posted again. The nurse had called. Things didn't look good. They had done all that they could. They needed a miracle. But the miracle didn't come — at least not in the way that they wanted. The next day as I checked Susie's daughter's Facebook page for an update, I saw the news that I didn't want to see: Susie had died that afternoon.

Initially, COVID was some far-off virus. In the northeast. In metropolitan areas. Then, it exploded south, east, and west, and across the world. Suddenly, people my wife and I knew had contracted it. Some had mild symptoms. Others, like Susie, died.

I thought about what Paul told the believers at the church in Thessalonica. Yes, they grieved over losing loved ones, but no, they didn't have to grieve as those who had no hope. Their hope — my hope — lay in believing that life is more than the years that we live on earth.

Susie had come from a Christian family and had made her decision to follow Jesus many years before. Like me, she had wandered a little from time to time, but her foundation was firm. I had no doubt that when she took her final breath in that ICU room, she took her first breath in heaven. I grieved, but not as one who had no hope.

Regardless of what takes our life — whether COVID, natural causes, an accident, a disease — in Christ, we have the hope of a better place where no more pain, suffering, grief, death, or bad things will ever take place again.

Can you grieve with hope?

Prayer: Father, may we grieve with the hope that a better life awaits us. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen Martin.

    Thank you, Martin. Praise God for that hope!

    Being a member of humanity is difficult to say the least, Martin.

    Thank you for your devotional today.
    Keep writing.

    Good morning, Martin,
    May we grieve with hope indeed. Amen.

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us today.

    Thanks for writing Martin. I often think how desolate it must be for those who have no faith in Jesus Christ.

    Good Morning,
    Thank you for your devotional.
    I have forwarded same to our church family.

    November 2nd, we remember those who have passed by going to the cemetery and praising God for lives well lived and now at peace with the Lord.

    Thank you, Martin, for your very positive and encouraging words today. Yes, through faith in Christ, we know a much better place awaits us. Blessings for these very special writings you prepare.

    What a beautiful devotional!
    Thank you so much for sharing your story and showing me always The Lord our savior is with us every step of the way.

    Mr. Wiles, your words (inspired by God’s word) was comforting. It’s a sobering thought to realize that as life goes on, we lose everyone that we know or have known.
    But it is comforting to hear that we will see each other at a happier place. Remain blessed.

    Dear Martin,
    Thank you!
    Susie’s story really touched me today – Condolences! My husband and I lost our friend of over 27 yrs. a few weeks ago. She died after complications from her brain tumour surgery. She knew God and we are grieving with hope that she is in the tender loving care of our Saviour.
    She had a beautiful soul.

    Good morning from Canada…
    Thank you for today’s devotional. My husband of 50 years died 21 months ago.
    I know that he has new life and is free of the pain and fear of his years battle with Alzheimer’s. I do though continue to struggle greatly with missing him and the life that we built together.
    I particularly appreciated the “grieve with hope” phrase you wrote. I will carry those words with me today and hopefully gain some solace from them.
    Thank you again.

    God bless you, Martin. I always cherish your devotionals.

    Hi Martin,
    Your last line got to me. My mother died of cancer, and she had suffered terribly in the last few months. My children were small and were with their other grandparents since I had gone to stay with Dad and visit Mom.
    When she died, I finally had to call and tell the kids that their grandmother had died. My oldest son, who was not yet 7, said to me, “we’ll miss grandma, but at least she won’t be in pain anymore”.
    Out of the mouths of babes.
    I write because of how you reminded me of what my son said when he learned of her passing.

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