Coping With the Death of a Loved One
Death is especially an enemy when it strikes a loved one. “It will be worse for you,” said a terminally ill wife to her husband as she contemplated death. Why could she say that? Because the Bible says: “All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol [the common grave of mankind], the place to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) The dead suffer no more. But the burden of grief falls on surviving relatives and friends. Can anything be done about such suffering?
The pages of God’s Word, the Bible, contain many words of comfort. For example, reading and meditating on the psalms surely is one source of consolation. Comforting, indeed, are such words as these: “Blessed be Jehovah, who daily carries the load for us, the true God of our salvation.”—Psalm 68:19.
Another source of comfort is the Christian congregation. In the first century C.E., the apostle Paul wrote: “Honor widows that are actually widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren [who can care for her materially], let these learn first to practice godly devotion in their own household and to keep paying a due compensation to their parents and grandparents, for this is acceptable in God’s sight. Let a widow be put on the list who has become not less than sixty years old, a wife of one husband, having a witness borne to her for fine works, if she reared children, if she entertained strangers, if she washed the feet of holy ones, if she relieved those in tribulation, if she diligently followed every good work.” (1 Timothy 5:3, 4, 9, 10) Jehovah’s Witnesses today likewise help and comfort such fellow believers.
A bee sting can be very painful, even fatal. Usually, though, removal of the insect’s stinger embedded in your skin will help bring relief. But what prospects are there for relief from the sting producing death?
Heartening indeed are Jesus’ words: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.”—John 5:28, 29.
Centuries earlier, God’s prophet Isaiah had foretold this regarding god (“Jehovah” by name): “He [Jehovah God] will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.” (Isaiah 25:8) Again, at Revelation 21:4, the Bible presents this marvelous prospect: “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” Fortified by this Bible hope for those sleeping in death, bereaved ones need not “sorrow just as the rest also do who have no hope.”—1 Thessalonians 4:13.
Try to visualize what God has in store for mankind, as revealed in the Bible. The imminent “great tribulation” spells doom for the present wicked system of things. (Revelation 7:14) Those practicing false religion meet their end. Gone are the greedy political and commercial elements that contribute to famine and warfare. Jesus Christ proceeds to abyss Satan the Devil, who has caused so much human death. Then Christ begins his Millennial Reign, during which he applies the value of his ransom sacrifice to mankind. The dead return in the hoped-for resurrection, and the light from God’s Word shines so brightly that superstitious views about death, mankind’s enemy, no longer exist. All then alive have the opportunity to learn God’s ways and conform to his righteous standards.—Proverbs 4:18; Acts 24:15; Hebrews 2:14, 15; Revelation 18:4-8; 19:19-21; 20:1-3.
‘Next, the end,’ says Paul, ‘when Christ Jesus hands over the kingdom to his God and Father. For he rules as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is brought to nothing.’ (1 Corinthians 15:24-26) Every disability resulting from Adam’s sin is gone. A final test takes place, and lovers of God come through it in faithfulness. (Revelation 20:4-10) Restored to perfection, these obedient humans live, not for a mere three score years and ten or even for five score and ten, but forever. What a gift from God through his beloved Son!—Romans 6:23.
So, then, how long can you live? Your life span can stretch out for all eternity. Living as you do in this world’s “time of the end,” you may never die at all. (Daniel 12:4; John 11:25, 26; 17:3) If you do the divine will, you may live right into God’s promised new world.—2 Peter 3:13.
If you are well along in years, however, you realistically need to consider the possibility of dying. Surely, the resurrection hope brings joy. But you may wonder how Jehovah will arrange family life in that new system of things. Do not let such matters concern you, for Jehovah will see to the lasting happiness of those forever faithful to him.
As these critical “last days” of Satan’s wicked system run their course, do not let the fear of death rob you of the privilege of serving Jehovah right now. (2 Timothy 3:1) If you lose a loved one in death, console yourself with the temporary nature of its hold. (Revelation 20:13, 14) Trust in the resurrection hope. Then, whether you gain entry into the new world through survival of the great tribulation or by means of a resurrection, be assured of the inspired guarantee that death, the last enemy, is to be brought to nothing.—Revelation 7:9, 14.
It may be true that you often wonder IF god DOES exist, why does he allow all this suffering? Or you may be a person who does NOT believe in god or the bible altogether. Either way, ponder over this thought. Every day, we are so busy being caught up in a rat race we call life striving to earn more money, get more job satisfaction or even earn more respect or prestige. What if, just what if there was some truth to the bible, and god did exist and it’s just that you didn’t know the reason as to why god allows suffering and death? Don’t you think that’s something you should explore and find out for yourself? If you want to know more about god’s promise to man and honestly study the bible and learn about what god promises, ask for a free home bible study, the next time a Jehovah’s Witness comes tapping at your door. Alternatively, you can visit, www.watchtower.org for more information.
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