Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because my father passed away recently. Maybe it’s because I wrote five sympathy cards in the last two days to friends and church members who just lost loved ones. Whatever the case may be, it seems there is a lot of death right now.
I guess there always is, even though (hopefully) it’s not currently tapping our friends or family members on the shoulders.
Death literally is an enigma, a mystery, puzzling, difficult to understand. “Enigma” comes from the Latin through the Greek meaning, “To speak allusively,” which death most certainly does.
Of course, the reason death is an enigma is because death was not part of God’s original plan. Death wasn’t God’s doing. It was ours. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12, ESV).
God created life which never ends. Satan distorted life which separated the temporal from the eternal, the perishable from the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Satan’s plan all along has not been just the first death, where the natural gives way, but the second death (Revelation 20:14), leading to eternal separation from God.
But the Resurrection unites our bifurcated existence once again. Through Jesus conquering sin and death, we have a new heaven and a new earth. “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:49, ESV).
This is why we do not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Grief is deep. Grief is personal. But grief is temporal. Heaven holds no tears nor sorrow (Revelation 21:4). But earth, on the other hand, receives our tears like rain drops softening the soil.
Two weeks ago, I had an hour’s drive by myself, and it was the first time I was completely alone (save the presence of the Spirit) for any length of time since my dad died. And I grieved. I didn’t just cry; I wailed. And those tears were like the Balm of Gilead, infused with God’s Spirit to bring healing to my soul.
I read recently, “Grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. Grief is the price of love” (Jessie Stillwater).
I know some of you are grieving right now. It may the death of a loved one, the death of a dream, or the death of a relationship. Grieve we must, for it is the price of love. But just remember, because Jesus rose from the dead, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, NLT).