October 17, 2020

Death and Mourning

Genesis 35:16-20, 27-29

Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath.

—  Genesis 35:19

Jacob had experienced renewal in his relationship with God, but that did not mean life became easy for him. In the first years after his return home, Jacob experienced grief from the deaths of his beloved wife, Rachel, and of his father, Isaac.

Death is a reality for everyone living in this world. Even our closest human relationships cannot be shielded from its power. Perhaps, as you read this, you have an empty place in your life left by the death of a loved one.

Grief is natural, even for people who have put their hope in God. It signifies that the person who has died was important to us.

But grief does not have the last word. Jacob continues to live in the hope of God’s promise, and he experiences the comfort of human relationships as he shares the grief of Isaac’s death with his reconciled brother.

But God has given even greater hope for believers who follow Christ. Because Jesus has died and risen again, we trust that God will also raise those who have died with faith in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We may grieve, but we grieve as those who move forward in the hope of God’s promise.

May that hope be yours today as well.

Father God, give us hope in the face of death. Comfort all who grieve and sorrow, and sustain us with the confidence of your promise through Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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