Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. . . . And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 17b-18 NIV
The church in Thessalonica was composed of new believers. And these believers were coming out of a background where death was something to be feared, the great unknown. And so when some of their company died prior to Christ’s return, they grieved for them, afraid that they had missed out on eternity with Christ.
So Paul writes to assure them that this was not the case. When Christ returns for those who are his, he will be coming with the believers who have preceded us in death. Death is not the end; nor is it something to fear. As birth transitioned us from life in the womb to life out in the world, so death ushers us from this life into the next.
What that life will be like is not known to me. But I have confidence in the one who has saved me and I trust him for my future. And I am thankful for the assurance that we can have as believers. To be with the Lord forever! Could anything be better.