It is hard to lose a loved one, friend, or fellow church member who shared your faith in Jesus. You worshipped together, prayed together, studied the Bible together, talked of spiritual things, or shared your successes and failures in the Christian walk. Your brother or sister in Christ was one of God’s gifts to you. Then the Lord saw fit to take them home to Heaven, and you are left to continue your life without them. How should you face this loss?
Let’s consider three proper responses to this change in your life. You should respond with thanksgiving, rejoicing, and trust.
Thanksgiving is to be expressed to God and others for the Christian who blessed your life. Paul spoke often of Christians he remembered, even though he was removed from them (Phil. 1:3; II Tim. 1:3-5; I Thess. 1:3). He thanked God for their faith and their contribution to his life (Romans 1:8; I Cor. 1:4; Eph. 1:15,16; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; I Thess. 1:2; II Thess. 1:3). When God takes a Christian from your life, you should reflect on their contribution to you and His work and be thankful. Sorrow should never remove your thankfulness.
Rejoicing is to be expressed to God and others over the wonderful blessing that death has brought to your fellow Christian. Your loss has been great, but their gain has been out of this world! They are present with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8), which is far better than anything they enjoyed on this earth (Phil.1:23). Love for them desires the best for them, and they have gone on to the best. They are in Heaven, seeing their Savoir and enjoying all the blessings of the place He has prepared for them (John 14:2). They are in a place where there is no sin, death, sickness, pain, sorrow, tears, regrets, disappointments, frustrations, or fears.
Wow! What a place! You must think of them and rejoice.
Trust is to be placed in your Lord Jesus. He has not made a mistake, because He never does. It was His time to take the Christian you love. Their death is part of His perfect plan, and He has promised to work it together for your good (Rom. 8:28). This loss to you was not God working against you, because He never works against the child of God. God always works for the believer (Psalm 56:9; Romans 8:31; II Cor. 4:17). God is a person who loves us at all times (Rom. 8:38,39) and proved that love by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). He has also revealed to us that He cares about us when we face trials and asks us to cast all of our troubles on Him (I Peter 5:6,7). The days ahead, without the Christian who meant so much to you, can be faced with confidence, because you trust God. He asks you to trust in Him with all your heart, not to rely on your own understanding, and He promised that He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5,6). He will someday take you home to Heaven, and you will find that His plan was perfect. Wait on the Lord and remain faithful to Him. Your friend’s walk of faith is over, but yours is still progressing. Walk it well. It won’t be long till your walk also comes to an end.