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Day 48

Does Hope Make a Difference?

by René Schlaepfer

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

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 Thessalonians 4:13]

I had just finished speaking at the funeral of a young woman when one of her male friends strode up to me and, in front of the other mourners, said, “That’s all B.S.! Everything you said about heaven and Jesus — all B.S.! Whether you believe or not, it all ends the same, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?!”

I waited until he had blown off a little more steam, and then asked, “Do you really want an answer?” He was surprised, but nodded yes.

“Then,” I said, “Come with me right now, because I’m going directly from this funeral service to visit two people in the cancer wing at the hospital. One is the father of a friend. He never made room for God, and is now an old man petrified of dying. He’s literally white-knuckling his ride into eternity, gripping the side rails of his bed, staring ahead with panicked eyes. I try to speak words of comfort, but I don’t know if he even hears me.

“After that, walk with me down the hall to see my friend Meryl. She’s dying, too, in the last stages of cancer. But when you enter her room it’s like you’ve walked into some kind of a special serenity zone, peace perfuming the place like incense. She radiates calm confidence as she welcomes her visitors and speaks of soon seeing her Savior. Then — only after you have seen the difference between them — only then, tell me that it’s all B.S.”

He walked away, nervously refusing to go on a visit that I think might have changed his life forever. But if you ever wonder why pastors still believe after they’ve seen so much death as part of their calling, you need to know: We have seen the difference that Christian hope makes.

Again, read 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18. The apostle Paul is talking about the great hope, the promise of the return of Christ and all it includes. When someone you know is down, encourage them with these words!

Question to Consider

How can I encourage myself and others today with the hope Paul speaks of in these verses?


Lord, thank You for the promise that, ultimately, You have my destiny and the destiny of the world in Your hands!