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Death and how to comfort the family

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  • Death and how to comfort the family

    A good friend's wife passed away last year. The phrase I heard most during the funeral as the attendees, including her surviving spouse, was some form of "She's in a better place now." She was a believer, so I don't think the phrase was forced, but I've been wondering how valid that phrase is.

    Here's my primary scripture reference: [1Th 4:18 KJV] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

    Of course we need some context, so here it is:
    Paul was answering some question from the Thessalonians who were concerned about the state of those who had already fallen asleep (died)--they were concerned that their loved ones had missed the promised kingdom, it seems.

    [1Th 4:13 KJV] But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
    [1Th 4:14 KJV] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    [1Th 4:15 KJV] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.


    The fore-going is certainly a comfort, that those which are asleep will also partake in the Lord's coming, God bringing them with Jesus. This sounds like those "which are asleep" could be with Jesus already. But the remaining verses seem to say something else:

    [1Th 4:16 KJV] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    [1Th 4:17 KJV] Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.


    The apparent order of events is
    1. Jesus descends from heaven with a shout and a trumpet
    2. The dead in Christ rise
    3. The alive are caught up together with them in the clouds ("them" meaning those that were dead)
    4. We meet the Lord Jesus in the air
    5. We are never separated from Jesus forever

    [1Th 4:18 KJV] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
    Paul tells us to use these words to comfort each other regarding those that have died.

    How many of the people at the funeral were comforting the family with these words? I think I was the only one. The pastor talked about a dream he had where he was dead, but was able to see and be among his family, though they couldn't see him. Several talked about the deceased dancing with Jesus.

    So my question is, should we be comforting those that have lost loved ones by saying "they are in heaven now" or "they are in a better place" or "their spirits are with Jesus". Paul never said to comfort anyone with those words, though they seem like they would be very comforting, if true.

    And if we should not use those words for comfort, is that because those words are not true??

  • #2
    My wife passed away in January 2019. I have been in sorrow for her ever since. The scripture that came to me is in the Psalm of Moses. "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away" (Ps. 90:10).

    I also read years ago a reading called the:

    "Storm of Sorrow"

    "Into every life some day the tempest of sorrow must come, for sorrow is ever the penalty of love. And if a person loves they will sorrow."

    So I asked myself if love worth the sorrow. My heart told me yes.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bradley D View Post
      My wife passed away in January 2019. I have been in sorrow for her ever since. The scripture that came to me is in the Psalm of Moses. "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away" (Ps. 90:10).

      I also read years ago a reading called the:

      "Storm of Sorrow"

      "Into every life some day the tempest of sorrow must come, for sorrow is ever the penalty of love. And if a person loves they will sorrow."

      So I asked myself if love worth the sorrow. My heart told me yes.
      I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your wife. I don't have that experience, so I can't know how bad the sorrow is. Thanks for expressing some of it here.

      What do you think of the two methods of comfort? Would you feel comforted by Paul's words to the Thessalonians? Would it be a bad thing if the normal words of comfort aren't true? What did you hear from those that tried to comfort you?

      It might be that nothing helps so soon after the loss, except to know that others knew your wife and loved her.

      And please, if these questions are hurtful, you don't have to answer.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Derf View Post

        I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your wife. I don't have that experience, so I can't know how bad the sorrow is. Thanks for expressing some of it here.

        What do you think of the two methods of comfort? Would you feel comforted by Paul's words to the Thessalonians? Would it be a bad thing if the normal words of comfort aren't true? What did you hear from those that tried to comfort you?

        It might be that nothing helps so soon after the loss, except to know that others knew your wife and loved her.

        And please, if these questions are hurtful, you don't have to answer.
        The Word of the Lord was my comfort while sitting by my wife's coffin. Knowing that someday I will be taken by the Lord into heaven is comforting. My family and others were there for me. Sometimes just having family and friends is comfort. Not many words are needed. Except for people who have lost loved ones it is hard to know what you are going through. However, God knows. The Lord is my comfort.

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