It doesn’t matter at what age death takes a loved one from your arms, it always leaves you feeling wounded, hurt and lonely. God so wanted to protect us from death. He never intended that we should face it or any of the realities of sin that have become our daily experience on this earth. He wanted that protection for us, but perhaps He wanted it for Himself too. You see, when death became part of our reality it meant that it would become a part of His reality too.
This Lenten Season has not made my life free from the effects of death. On theanniversary of a good friend’s husband’s death, another sweet friendleft this earth for heaven. Both Brian’s side and my side of the familyhave experienced the death of long- time close family friends. Death is all aroundus. Everyone we know is going to die eventually.
Death was the only aspect of sin that God detailed to Adam about the consequencesof eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God didn’t give alecture on the reality of sin, nor did He fully explain what death meant. Withouta meticulous description, the word death seemed to make a strong impression eventhough Adam had no real concept of its cruel reality. The word itself causedAdam to innately consider it something to be avoided at all costs. In fact itwas only when the serpent told Eve she would not die, but just be wise like God,that either of them considered eating from the tree. Satan tried to disguisedeath from the two in the garden. Slowly the effect of death took place in theirlives, but never so poignantly as when their firstborn son was also the firstperson to commit the murder of his only brother. They knew for sure at that momenthow atrocious death can be.
Death is a cruel enemy to mankind, but this Lenten season reveals that its worstassault was suffered by Jesus. On the cross Jesus stood in the middle of death’sfull force against us. God warned us of death in the garden, and when we ignoredHis pleadings Jesus stood face to face with death so He could once and for allconquer its forces. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Jesus wassuccessful in conquering death’s tight grip. When the perishable has beenclothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the sayingthat is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where,O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death issin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victorythrough our Lord Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t make death not hurt; but it does make death hurt a lot less. In all the deaths I mentioned earlier I know that these folks are in heaven. I know that though they experienced an earthly death, they now enjoy life eternal and the most complete kind of death; the death that Jesus faced, will never be able to touch them.
I still cry at funerals; I still feel the pain, hurt, loss and loneliness of death on this earth, but this Lenten season reminds me that ultimately death has been conquered in my life.