After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:17, NIV
Paul is writing to believers who are grieving over their own friends and family members who have died. He is writing to bereaved parents and children. Their grief isn’t about death in general; their grief is about the death of particular loved ones.
Paul writes to comfort them in their sorrow, and he says, “We…will be caught up together with them…to meet the Lord in the air” (4:17). He is not talking generally about what will happen to believers, he is talking about their specific loved ones.
The whole point of what Paul is saying here is that these Christians have the comfort of knowing that they will see their loved ones again. The joys of the life to come are a perfecting of the joys He has given us in this life. The life of heaven is always more and never less than this life on earth.
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?” (2:19). The special relationships that you have forged on earth will continue in heaven.
What names and faces come to mind when you think about being reunited with believing loved ones again in heaven?