Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (1 Thess. 4:13)

“THE THRILL OF HOPE, the weary world rejoices!” Too soon for Christmas songs? Perhaps. But those words, found in the song “O, Holy Night,” resonate with people who desperately seek to hold on to something meaningful. Hope can be powerful! It can sustain faith through the deepest, darkest times. It is what brings believers through the refiner’s fire. It’s what’s we hold on to when all else seems lost. It shapes and defines our moral character through times of trial and temptation. It is hope that moves us through the process of grieving.

Death is all too familiar to us. The harsh truth of life here on earth is that it comes with an expiration date. Death is inevitable. Sooner or later, it will affect us all. Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, encouraged them to grasp the hope of Jesus. We all will have to grieve at some point in our lives, some of us more than others. However, those who believe in Jesus are not like the rest of humankind, because we have hope.

This hope is not wishful thinking. It’s not guessing or even thinking death is bound to happen and we can’t do anything about it. Biblical hope knows that Jesus has conquered the grave. It is the expectation that Jesus will return and call all who have passed away to rise to life. It is in the thrill of hope that indeed the weary world rejoices.

You will grieve, but the hope of Jesus will see you through the grieving process.

Scott Simmons is the author of the youth discipleship series iFollow and was director of youth ministry for the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division of The Wesleyan Church.