A Promise for Those Who Mourn

I attended the funeral of one of the most robust, energetic, and alive people I’ve ever known. Death for Bruce is incomprehensible. And yet, he’s gone.

The next day as our small group read John 11, the boldness of Jesus’ words to Martha struck me. Martha and Mary had buried their brother just days earlier. They’d helplessly watched Lazarus’s life slip away. They’d bathed and prepared his dead body for burial. They were way more familiar with death than they wanted to be.

Put yourself in Martha’s place as you read Jesus’ words to her:

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (Jn. 11:25-26 NIV).

Martha had already told Jesus she believed Lazarus would rise in the resurrection at the last day. She believed in life after death. But Jesus presses her to believe more. He wanted her to know that eternal life is a person (Jn. 14:6). The one rightly connected to Him will never die.

Eternal Life is a person (Jn. 14:6). The one who lives by believing in Jesus will never die (Jn. 11:26). #hope Share on X

Jesus knew He would soon hang on the cross to pay for her and our sins. He would be raised to life again so that those who believe in Him “will never die.” In other words, though our souls will be separated from our bodies (physical death) a believer will never be separated from God (spiritual death).

Paul put it this way,

We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8 NASB).

Paul knew one day he would leave his earthly body, but Jesus would never leave him. Even though at the time of this conversation with Martha, Jesus hadn’t died and been resurrected, His Father’s plan was as certain as if it had already happened.

Dare to Believe When…

Jesus boldly asked Martha to believe when disappointment that He hadn’t healed Lazarus as she’d requested sullied her raw grief. His words summoned her faith.

‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’” (Jn. 11:27 NIV).

Her declaration focused on the One who spoke. Even though she might not have been clear on what Jesus meant, she trusted and believed in Him!

Paul, in the midst of personal suffering, echoed Martha’s assertion. “I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1:12 NIV, italics added).

This scene with Martha challenges me to listen to the One who speaks through His Word. I may not comprehend how His promises will be fulfilled. But I know the character of my Lord. He never lies. He always keeps His promises.

What has died in your life? A hope, a dream, a relationship, your health, your career, a loved one? What promise has Jesus given you?

Let’s move our eyes away from the grave that stares us in the face and put them on Jesus. Like Martha, may we proclaim, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are who you say you are, the Son of God, who came into the world.”

Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55 NIV)

CommentHow do Jesus’ words to Martha encourage you?



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  1. Horace Williams Jr

    Amen, Debbie. We can live with hope knowing the eternal destination of our loved ones. This past week was the ninth anniversary of my baby sister losing her daughter at birth. I write about the pain we felt in my next book. However, God in His infinite wisdom blessed my sister with another daughter. Hannah Grace will be ten years old in the middle of next month. I know we all look forward to seeing little Caitlyn in Heaven someday. I thank God for His unconditional love and His undeserved grace. What a compassionate Savior. Blessings to you and yours, friend.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Oh, Horace, to lose a child is a terrible loss. I think of Isaiah 57:1-2:
      “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart;
      the devout are taken away, and no one understands
      that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
      Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death” (NIV).
      I know you book will bring hope and comfort to many. God bless you, dear friend.

  2. Judy Radcliffe

    Thank you Debbie for this reminder to
    Keep my eyes on Jesus and remember
    Bruce is more alive than he has ever been. That comforts and encourages me to keep pressing into Him for peace.
    This is the hardest road in the journey of my life but God…….will help me, love me and guide each step I take.
    Thank you for being our friend.
    We love you and Larry so very much!❤️

    • Debbie Wilson

      Judy, you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. May our Lord’s presence and the promise of a wonderful reunion comfort you. You are deeply loved.

  3. Jim

    Amen Ms. Debbie. Death in this life is but a door. I pray each day that those I leave behind on this earth know my thoughts on this, so they are filled with God’s joy upon my entry into heaven’s glory. Great post ma’am.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jim, that is the best gift we can leave our loved ones. Thanks so much!

  4. Ann Musico

    Just beautiful Debbie. A very important reminder every day – no matter what is happening around us, no matter how it looks, we can trust the One Who is the same yesterday, today and forever!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Ann!! He never changes.

  5. Jeannie Waters

    The words of Jesus to Martha are comforting. Your post reminds us to focus on Him in all of life’s trials. I haven’t suffered a personal loss lately, but I hope to remember your post in comforting others or myself in the future.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jeannie.

  6. Melissa Henderson

    We all mourn at different times in our lives and for different reasons. I am thankful God holds us in His loving arms when we mourn. We are His and He loves us.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Melissa, I am thankful He knows how to comfort us too.

  7. Rebecca Jones

    Jesus overcame, death hell and the grave. So we could and some of us will be here alive and remaining when He comes.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Hurrah! Isn’t that wonderful, Rebecca?

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