Comfort in Reunion

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 

Dr. M.R. DeHaan founded Radio Bible Class in Grand Rapids. A surgeon by training and loved as a family physician, Dehaan couldn’t shake an internal desire to enter the ministry. In early spring of 1922 he came home, slid his medical bag across the kitchen floor, and told Priscilla, his wife, he couldn’t practice medicine any longer. He entered seminary and then the ministry—a ministry that led him to found one of the most effective radio Bible-teaching ministries in history.

I’ll never forget as a young teenager getting to eat breakfast with him at the Biltmore Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. He was the keynote speaker for my dad’s Word of Life Prophecy Conference, and Dad had snatched me out of the classroom because he believed hearing Dr. DeHaan was more important.

I can still remember one of his morning sessions. He always began his teaching in his distinct gravely raspy voice, “If you will please turn in your Bibles,” and that morning the text was 1 Thessalonians 4:13-24

“Now we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep or to grieve like the rest (unbelievers) who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we can also be confident that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, those left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who are sleeping. For there will be a loud command, the voice of an archangel, and God’s trumpet call, then the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first.. Then we, those living, those still remaining, will be snatched up together with them in the clouds to the Lord’s gathering in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort each other with these words.”   1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

I told you that when Dr. DeHaan started to speak his voice was raspy and guttural—the result of hours and hours of public speaking without the help of good microphones—but an amazing thing happened when he neared the climax of his message. His voice suddenly smoothed out. It became clear and tender. “When I was not quite ten, my sister, Anna, was born, but she died in infancy. I never got to enjoy living and playing with my little sister, but I want you to notice something in this text. It says that God will bring with Jesus those who have died. It says that they will be given new glorified bodes first, then we will be caught up together with them, and then we will see Jesus. You see, Jesus doesn’t want me looking around for Anna. He wants my eyes on him, but he loves me so much, he reunites me with my baby sister first, and then together we will be with the Lord Jesus forever.”

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