O Death, Where is Your Sting?
So... I decided to write an Easter post. It is intense, but I know I need to share it. I am scared to share it, for fear of sounding dramatic and radical, but I guess that’s what being brave is all about. Welp... Here it goes!
These last few weeks sit heavy. Terrorist attacks in Turkey, Belgium, and Pakistan, the death of a friend’s child, the death of a friend’s father, the ever-present fact that Julia is gone, and the constant reminder of my own ability to harbor anger and irritation towards the people I love most.
The world is dark. It’s so tempting to want to crawl back into my home and never leave. To never step outside and face the pain that this world inevitably brings. When Julia died, I yearned to keep all my friends and family locked inside a house. They’d be safe there. No one would ever die tragically again, and we could all live happily ever after. I think that is how cults get their start, so obviously I couldn’t do that. We have to live in this world that is full of sadness. It feels like death is always right around the corner, lurking its cruel head, waiting for the next moment to strike, once the dust has settled from the last tragedy.
When Julia died, I became intimately acquainted with pain and darkness. The deep groans of anguish that poured out of me in that bleak hospital room were unlike any I’d ever experienced. The sadness, the fear, the doubt, the anger ran rampant throughout my body. I desperately wanted to make sense of what had happened in those initial moments of shock.
In the midst of the wailing and lack of control, I remembered the image I’d had of Julia, four days before she died. I’d been praying for her with my husband, and had received a visual of her walking down a path:
A man turned her around abruptly. He shined with glorious, radiant light, and I watched as that light illuminated her whole body. A light that took away the darkness that surrounded her.
That gift, the precious gift of that picture, reminded me that Christ has overcome her death. Her death was not the end of her life. That brutal car accident cannot claim her end. Her death was the beginning of a life forever with one who overcame all death.
This Easter weekend, I celebrated more than I ever had before that death and darkness do not have the final word in this world. The hope that I have is beyond what I can produce within myself, and far greater than what the world can give me.
JESUS SAID TO HER, "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE; HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME WILL LIVE EVEN IF HE DIES. JOHN 11: 25
I HAVE TOLD YOU THESE THINGS, SO THAT IN ME YOU MAY HAVE PEACE. IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. BUT TAKE HEART! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD. JOHN 16:33
I understand that these claims sound foolish to some. I have chosen to believe, not because it sounds like a nice way to cope with death, but because I believe it to be true. I have a fervent hope and faith that what Jesus said and did is true. If He actually lived, breathed, died and was resurrected back to life, and is now alive forever in Heaven, then that is the best hope we have to face the darkness and death of this world — knowing He has overcome it. This hope also doesn’t brush over the fact that death is literally heartbreaking, that grief is real and that loss deserves mourning. I also know I will face more darkness, more suffering, more death.
Because we celebrate his death and resurrection today and every day, I get to rejoice in hope and assurance that one day I too will live, even though I will physically die on earth. I rejoice because even in this world of trouble, he gives me peace that surpasses all understanding. He gives me joy even in the darkest of days. I see light shining in the dullest of moments. He comforts me in the midst of my suffering. He gives me grace when I need it the most, and when I deserve it the least. He instills hope and faith in me that one day all things will be made right and new. He transforms me daily to be more like Him — filling me with kindness, gentleness, patience, compassion and love.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 corinthians 14:16–17
He keeps me dancing in the midst of grief. He isn’t just waiting for me in Heaven. He is with me right now. This is where my deepest joy comes from. This is why I am able to look death straight in the face, with my trembling hands and tear-stained face, and cling to Jesus with all the strength I have left, for when I am weak, He is strong. It is in Him that I have a profound and deep hope and assurance that the end of life is not the actual end of life. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Death cannot separate us. Nothing can separate us from His love. We have nothing left to fear.
BE SURE OF THIS: I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE MATTHEW 28:20
DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?
O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?
1 CORINTHIANS 15:55