“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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”I Thessalonians 4:16-18
I worked at a hospital for many years and held various jobs at two of the largest ones in the valley. I once worked in surgery and my job was to replenish the supply carts in all of the operating rooms. There were ten operating rooms, and one of them was designed for the traumas that would come in through the emergency room. My shift was from 3:00pm to 11:30pm, and I would check the trauma room at the start of my shift and before I left for the night.
Most of the time, the trauma room was quiet, but you knew at any minute it could be buzzing with the chaos of what a trauma brings. I am not sure how many trauma surgeries I saw over the years, but it was always exciting when they rolled in through the double doors. The surgical trauma room saw everything from car wrecks to gunshots, and some of the oddest things I still cannot explain. People of all ages were wheeled in to be worked on, and I saw some that never made it out alive. I was never bothered by the blood and gore of it all, but there was one aspect of every trauma experience that stayed with me far beyond my 11:30pm departure.
When I went out the double doors of the operating room, sometimes I would see a large family gathered waiting for news of how the surgery went. I saw people in various states as some prayed with their pastors while others looked hopeless and in utter despair. I would try to avoid eye contact with those who were gathered, and when I knew there was a death, I would try to wait as long as I could before going out. Although I tried to steer clear of these situations, I could still hear the wailing of the families who had unexpectedly lost a loved one. I had a hard time sleeping on those nights as I could still hear the sobbing and wailing hours later as I laid in my bed.
I have experienced loss in this way in my own life, and I could empathize with those who had lost someone dear to them. We all grieve in our own way, and even Jesus wept for His friend, Lazarus, as it tells us in John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” I used to love to quote that easy verse as a kid, but it gives insight that it is okay to grieve as Jesus did as well. As Christians, we are not without grief and sorrow, but there is hope in our sorrow. It is a devastating thing to say goodbye to someone who is without Christ, as you know you will not see them in Heaven. However, if someone knows Jesus Christ as his/her Savior, there is hope as that is not a final goodbye. Our hope comes from the promises of God, even in the sorrow of death.
Revelation 21:4 states, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” I look forward to the day when I will no longer say goodbye to loved ones, and the day when there will be no more death or crying. I pray for the rapture, but if it does not come in my lifetime, then I will face my date with death, and those left behind will have the comfort of knowing that I will be resurrected when the trumpet of God sounds. Where are you today friend? Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? Do you have the hope of eternal life? If you know Christ, you know the peace and comfort of this passage, and although we may sorrow, there is hope in our sorrow.
Romans 12:15 states, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” May we comfort those who weep, and may we seek to share the good news so that others may have the same hope.