A second thing that Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is this: as Christians, we do not have to grieve like the rest of humanity who have no hope.
A Greek writer named Theocritus once said, "Hopes are for the living; the dead are without hope." Nothing could be further from the truth for the Christian.
Some of the Greeks in Paul's day believed in the immortality of the soul but not in the resurrection of the body. They believed that the soul would go to Hades, a place of ghosts, and live there forever. For obvious reasons, this idea did not inspire hope in the common Greek people of Paul's time.
Contrast that perspective with what Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi,
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. (Philippians 1:21-23)Those are the words of a man imprisoned, staring death in the face. What a wonderful hope we have as believers in Jesus! We do not have to be afraid of death, and we do not have to grieve in the same way as non-Christians. Certainly, there are tears when we are separated from a loved one by death. There is longing to see that loved one again. However, in the midst of the tears we still have hope.
In this regard, I love one of C. S. Lewis' letter to his pen-friend, Mary Willis Shelburne,
Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind. (Letters to an American Lady, 17 June 63)Mary Willis Shelburne lived many more years. Lewis died just five months later. Talk about someone who faced death with a sense of hope! And that hope is what Jesus gives to all of God's children.