[ecko_quote source="1Thessalonians 4:18"]Therefore, comfort one another with these words .[/ecko_quote]
My beloved uncle and the servant of God, Rev Tummalla Prabhakar Rao went to be with the Lord yesterday while spending time with his grandchildren. He served as a Senior Presbyter in various Pastorates for several decades in the Church of South India – Medak Diocese. I had an opportunity to know him personally during the course of my ministry. One thing I like about this man of God is his childlike heart - and as Jesus said for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (Matt 19:14). He speaks to the people with great love (calling them lovingly “Naye-nah”, “Amma “and “Paapa”) and we can notice in him the innocence in a good sense. He believes and trusts everyone.
During the viewing time of my beloved uncle, as I was listening to the dear ones’ consoling words and quotes from the Holy Bible. The Lord brought into my remembrance one of the events that took place at the Airport. While I was waiting to send-off one of my friends, a family with kids also came to send-off their father who was travelling overseas. The kids and his wife were in tears, sobbing. Their father was assuring them and giving them hugs. As I was watching them, the Lord spoke to me saying, see my son, the husband is going overseas for a few days and on completion of his work, he will return. Despite knowing this, the family are still sobbing because of the temporary separation from their dear one. They were grief-stricken but have the hope that their father will come back remained. Similarly, we should be aware of the fact that our loved ones left us temporarily and will come back with Jesus, or we will meet them when we finish our earthly journey. Jesus put it this way, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28)
We all know that death is not a popular subject and we even go to the lengths of avoiding to talk about it. We even shuffle the channels on the TV to avoid hearing about it. No matter how much we try to avoid it, death is a very real fact; and we shouldn’t be afraid of it. It is something we are to anticipate. Like David, we know the Lord is our Shepherd, and we should say, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me; They rod and Thy staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4) - LWF
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 states that "To everything, there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, And a time to die, … A time to weep, And a time to laugh. Our pilgrim is progressing, and we have to go through this last enemy "death". However, during the bereavement time, we have to grieve and weep remembering our dear one (remember "Jesus wept" – John 11:35). It’s not a celebration of life at this moment. That will follow after the grieving period.
Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 4:16-18 summarised it in this manner "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus…. for the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.
Many people are terrified by the thought of dying. It is looked upon as the most tragic experience. To be sure, there is a pain in being separated from those who are dear to us. The physical discomfort that sometimes accompanies dying is not pleasant to endure. At times like these, our faith may falter as we lose sight of the glory that awaits us. That’s why we must never forget that death for the Christian is but the doorway to heaven!