We do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
—1 Thessalonians 4:13

At some point, a grieving person will ask, “Why would God allow this to happen?” Now, we don’t have all of the answers. But today I will give you four insights to help answer the question of why God allows death.

First, death is a result of sin. Death was never a part of God’s plan for His creation. We live in a fallen world, and Paul reminds us in Romans 5:12 that the byproduct of sin in the world is death. But the good news is there is hope beyond the grave. The sickness that leads to death in the world will not always be here.

Second, sometimes the reason for death is to focus our hope on heaven. Death has a way of keeping us from putting our hope in this world. There is perhaps no greater object lesson than a funeral to remind us how brief our time on earth is. And many times, one reason for death is to remind us that this world is not all that there is, that something better awaits us. God allows death to remind us to fix our hope on heaven.

Third, God allows us to experience grief so we can comfort others. When we understand that we are here to minister to other people, we have a new perspective on the problems we go through, including the loss of a loved one. Paul says that God “comforts us in all our affliction so that we might be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Fourth, God allows the loss of loved ones to transform our character. God molds our lives to be more like Jesus Christ. And one way He does that is through the hard things we go through. That’s why Peter writes, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7). Grief is one of the trials God will allow in your life to make you more like Jesus.

Have you discovered that it is not during the easy times that we grow? It is during difficult times like grief that we learn the lessons God wants to teach us. Some of the most important truths you will ever learn about God and His sufficiency in your life will be learned through the process you go through of getting over grief.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Getting Over Grief” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.