Death is a horrible thing. It is so final, so permanent. Often times it is accompanied by great hopelessness and sorrow. And it is usually followed by grief and loneliness. Those of us who remain are left with memories and unfulfilled dreams or hopes.
This week – Passion week – has been particularly poignant for me, as death has been more visible than in other years. Robert Chisha’s death and burial started the week off. Some other missionaries just posted segments of a friend’s funeral in Zambia that they attended this week. At my nursing internship on a cancer unit, I saw death and its effects this week. Then on Thursday, Derek and I went to the Maundy Thursday service at church to remember our Savior’s final hours on earth and his death – the most significant and important of all deaths.
Something that struck me mid-week was that this is only the beginning of what Derek and I will see. We have continued to sense God leading us to work in Zambia among those affected by or dying from HIV. We will see many friends die, go to many funerals, grieve over many losses. Is that the kind of life I want to commit to? Am I prepared for that?
If death is the end and it truly is as final as it seems, then no I don’t want to commit to that kind of life. I do not want to grieve as one who has no hope. (1 Thess. 4:13) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! I don’t have to and neither do you.
Jesus died in utter agony under the wrath of God, which was supposed to be my punishment. When I was still His enemy and hating Him, Christ died for me. And through faith, He became my Righteousness and Life. No more death.
‘O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” -1 Corinthians 15:54-56
In this life, every day can seem like the dark, sorrowful Thursday/Friday of Christ’s crucifixion. But Sunday’s comin’! Jesus busted out of that grave and stands with His foot on Satan’s neck, and there is no more guilt or shame for those of us who know Christ. And when Jesus returns, every day will be the Sunday of victory over death, because there will be no more death or dying or sorrow.
Until that wonderful day, we live in a world filled with the awful effects of sin, and we will always be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” (2 Cor. 6:10) But this weekend, there is MUCH to rejoice in. The greatest death, the most senseless death, the most hopeless death in the world was Christ’s. And the greatest joy, the most hope-filled event, the most Life-giving event in all the world was Christ’s victory over death. And I’ve got the victory, the victory in Jesus!