For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV)
The confusion and despair that the Thessalonians were experiencing may have been unique to their time. It seems that everyone who chose to follow Jesus expected Him to return very soon. They were grieving because brothers and sisters in Christ had died before that return occurred. Their misunderstanding was that these brothers and sisters would not share in the return of Jesus and eternal life. Paul quickly corrects their misunderstanding and makes it clear that those who have died will be resurrected and rise with Jesus first.
Over 2000 years have passed since Paul wrote this letter and we don’t have the same concern. We don’t live in eager anticipation of Jesus’ return. It is easy to begin believing and acting like this life is all there is, just like most of the people around us. This life is not all there is. Jesus is going to return, we will be resurrected, and we will live with Jesus forever.
For my grandchildren:
Live everyday like you are going to live forever, because you are.