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.