Some say that death is a natural and beautiful concept that we should embrace. I will be straight up about my hostility. I consider it my enemy. I hate it. It delivers for me no good feelings. I experience no pleasant vibes.
I long for a utopia where death is removed. Gone forever.
I am getting older. And despite what people might say about the golden years, I think the whole aging process stinks. There are aches and pains. And then more pain. And then one dies. Despite all of our modern technology in our big, sophisticated hospitals, death is inescapable. The medical community only offers short-term band aids. I despise empty promises and fake smiles of assurance.
If death is such a nice part of our global culture, why does it invoke such tears, grief, and heartache? Don’t sugarcoat the idea of death with me. The pain of losing loved ones has lingered through most of my life.
I have had buddies commit suicide. I have had family members die in tragic accidents or after long, lingering battles with disease. I have witnessed firsthand what I consider careless and senseless death. In my arms, I have held sobbing ones affected by the deaths of others. I have shed tears to the point where I was unable to cry anymore.
For me, the deep down ache does not go away. As one friend recently and candidly shared, “Time does not heal.”
In my struggle with death, let me point out three thoughts seared upon my spirit.
- The hatred toward internal and external evil
I don’t get mad at an all-benevolent and all-powerful God who is above and beyond me. I allow my spirit to rage over the tangible expressions of our very messed-up society. There are problems within me. And there is disease all around me. We are sick. And it makes me angry. Don’t you sense a curse hovering over us?
- A hunger for mercy
I am the beggar. Apart from divine intervention, the older I get, the more pessimistic my thoughts become. My life is not a Hallmark movie. My existence is not a continuous thread of positive facebook pictures. I am a pitiful creature who desperately depends on the tender mercy and compassionate care of the Creator. As I head towards my death, I need a Savior. My only hope is a Deliverer who can bring me through death itself. I need love in the midst of limitation and loss. I need peace in the midst of turmoil. I need comfort in the midst of my ongoing weakness. I need salvation. Full and complete.
- Increased longing for an eternal home
Imagine a brand new earth, actually where heaven and earth literally encompass one another. During funerals and memorial services, I dream of eternity, untainted by human misery. Everything good that I am blessed with now will be there in the future. And so much more. Death does not have the final say. God does. Every death that touches my life increases my longing as a pilgrim for my final destination. And as I think of my own death, I anticipate the sum of all experience – seeing God face to face.
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?
For I am persuaded that neither death nor nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is Christ Jesus our Lord.