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Question: What do you say to someone who has lost a loved one?

This is among the most challenging situations in life for those who have lost a spouse, parent, or close friend. I would add that the challenge is for those left behind. The Scriptures do not seem to indicate the “second chance” after death that some would advocate. One can know their hope of eternity from the Bible before their passing away, and I believe that is very clear. It may sound presumptive, but God does want us to know we have eternal life here on this earth. I John 5:13 tells us that what is written (the Bible) is written so that we may know that we have eternal life. Our salvation need not be something we guess, hope, assume, or think that we have, but can be that which we know we have.
Since the loved one’s eternity has been decided, we do far better to focus on those left behind. At this point, they would not want you to be concerned about them. They would be concerned about you and other family and friends. While they miss you, they understand eternal realities in a way we never can on this earth because they are now seeing them personally. What would they want you to know today? First of all, they would want you to know that eternity is real. Our passing from this world leads to the entering in to the world to come. Jesus dealt with this issue on the cross. He was crucified next to a thief. Even someone with an extensive criminal history like the thief was able to find forgiveness and eternal life when he was willing to repent of his sin and trust in the Savior. Have you settled the issues for your own eternity?
Beyond that, it is important to remember that life is short. We are given the gift of time called this life. We have only a certain amount of time. Psalm 90 tells us our time on earth is like “a watch in the night”, a short period of time. The conclusion is that the psalmist asks God to “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”. Our days are budgeted, and we only have so many to spend. So rather than spending them, let’s invest them for eternity. When we look back, the regrets we will have in eternity will have to do with our relationships with God and others, and not the things we have and seem to strive and fight for. Let these things be your legacy.

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