Death Isn’t God’s Way

This past week I entered a building of grief. A long line of mourners stood outside the funeral home and wove their way throughout every corner and hallway of the building. Hundreds of people waited to offer hugs and prayers for a precious family. My friend and her siblings suddenly lost their father. Without warning he was gone. Her precious mother lost her husband and best friend. He’d only turned fifty in April.

Why is death so hard? We know it is coming. It’s the common reality for us all. But when it invades our ranks, death always shocks us. Death seems to come too soon and takes far too much. Death is so hard, because in reality, death isn’t God’s way.

Death isn’t right.

God created us as living, eternal beings who will never die. We weren’t made to experience physical death. Scripture calls it the “king of terrors” (Job 18:14). Death happened because sin opened the door for its entrance.  Death is ugly, gruesome and hard.

Death is what remains after what is most real has left the body.

This tent, this shell that encases our souls, is left behind when we pass through that doorway to true life, unending life. The soulless shell that is left behind signals that our battle in this weary flesh is finally over and the spirit has departed to stand before his Maker.

Our breath comes from the Life-giver, and here we are only a vapor because this is not our home; we were made to dwell eternally in the presence of our Life-giver.

Our moments here are limited—soon we’ll be with Him.

Knowing that this is a temporary place, and that our real life doesn’t actually begin until we step through the threshold of eternity, gives me the perspective I need when looking into the face of a new widow or when walking through the painful loss of one of my own loved ones. The only way I can deal with that kind of devastating loss is to remember the power of the resurrection.

And that’s what the Apostle Paul reminds us to focus on. The tangible hope of the resurrection:

[box]If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:20–26)[/box]

If you are walking through loss right now, if you are grieving for a departed loved one, I appeal to you to place your heart and mind on the truth and hope of the resurrection. Our time here is fleeting, but while we wait, let us not grieve as “those who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

If you know someone who is grieving today, I hope you’ll pass along today’s post to them with a reminder that you are praying for them.


  • Rebecca Einwechter

    Thanks Kim. I was just sitting at the piano playing one of my favorite hymns,and you came to mind. You many know this hymn, The Sands of Time…some of the words…”The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks. The summer morn I’ve sighed for, the fair sweet morn awakes. Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand. And glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land. The bride eyes not her garment, but her dear bridegroom’s face, I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of grace. Not at the crown He giveth, but on His pierced hand. The Lamb is all the glory, of Emmanuel’s land.”
    (This is how I remember…there are many more verses) Prayers and blessings to you, precious friend.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Thank you, dear friend ~

    I so appreciate your prayers during this season, Becky. Knowing you are interceding for us is a gift from the Father. I love the words of this hymn, thank you for sharing them with me today: “Dayspring is at hand . . .” may we see His glory rise and shine through the dark season of suffering. I long for the day we see Him, I pray to be faithful in sharing His light while we walk through the darkness here.

    Pausing to pray for you now ~

  • Nicole

    Hi Kimberly,

    This is a genuine question that has been in my mind on and off. What about if your loved one was not saved? Is there still a way to deal with this since we know that those who die in their sins will rise to eternal punishment? We cannot put our hope in the resurrection for them. I have many family members who are not saved and some of them are getting up in age and are not well. I have shared the good news of the gospel with some and don’t see any response, so if they die in their sins this will be very difficult. The thought of any of them dying in their sins really grieves me now.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Nicole,

    Your question is one many of us struggle with. Yes, if our loved ones die without Christ, it is extremely difficult because we know they are eternally separated from God and all that is good. That is why Psalm 116:15 tells us that: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Those who leave this life in a relationship with Christ are coming into His manifest and holy presence for eternity, and that is “precious” to Him.

    But when those who do not know Christ perish, that is the cause for true grief. I have a friend whose father passed away recently. He was elderly, and although she’d shared the gospel with him many times through the years, he’d always rejected it. After he passed away, a gentleman contacted my friend and shared with her how he’d talked with her father shortly before his death and prayed with him to receive Christ. My friend was stunned by the news and grateful this man had relayed this to her. Her words were, “I have hope that he was actually converted.”

    I once was called to the bedside of a dying woman who had never received Christ. She appeared to be in a comma, but I placed my mouth close to her ear to speak to her and quietly share the gospel. I invited her to surrender her will and heart to Christ. And assured her that she could be in His presence, could peacefully go to Him, if she would willingly yield to Him. After I shared that and prayed with her, while I still held her hand, she took her last breath. I can’t know for sure, but I believe she went into the presence of the Lord.

    Knowing that our loved ones are in need of a Savior compels us to share with them the gospel, but we must release them to the spirit’s work and trust Him.

    One of my dearest friends grew up as an atheist. Now she is a passionate Christian, but her parents died without Christ. I asked her recently how she deals with that loss, knowing where they are spending eternity. Her reply was, “When my mind goes there, I have to focus on the fact that I know God is good, that He is just, and I leave that to Him.”

    Your comment underscores the fact of why I write this blog–we must, MUST be sharing the gospel, spreading the news that Jesus saves, that God is worthy of our worship, and that there is hope in Him alone.

    May His Spirit lead you in conversation with your loved ones and take your words, even if you never witness it with your eyes, and bring your loved ones into a saving relationship with Himself.

    Praying for Him to use you now ~

  • Linda Jeffrey

    Death is an enemy that God will destroy. You have pointed to the heart of the matter. God is good! It is not His will that any should perish. I look forward to the day when death will be finally crushed beneath His feet. I have been widowed three times, and often talk to others who have lost their husband, their children’s daddy, and their best friend. Our hope is in the goodness of God. He has overcome death, and we are more than conquerors as His children.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Oh, my, Linda ~

    I am sure you have such a wealth of understanding and compassion for those who have lost loved ones. Thank you for sharing some of your story and wisdom here.

    Truly God is good and soon we will be in His presence ~