Death’s Sting

“God needed them more.”
“They’re an angel now.”
“It’s okay.”
“They’re up there smiling down on us.”
Any of these sound familiar? You could probably add a few to this list.

My cousin left this world recently, he stopped breathing…

We aren’t the closest family, broken, shattered, distant, maybe dysfunctional. Yet, my cousin and I would talk occasionally, small talk and catch up. He and I were better about this than I am with most of my family.

Well, right now I’m sure my aunt, uncle, and cousins have heard the phrases above and more. They have heard them from people who care about them and want to make them feel better, people who love them. However, these words are often empty phrases, groundless assertions, and “go to” sayings in times like these.

In attempts to make people feel better, we are missing the point. People fall asleep, people die, physically. This is reality, this is the world we live in. A world affected, effected, and infected by sin. We see it all around us and death is ever the reminder, the great equalizer.

My cousin, Milt, is not an angel now, he is still human; a human experiencing the fullnes and glory of God as I type these words. He is in paradise. God does not need him more than his family does, it was just his time to go be with Jesus. As far as timing, who but God knows why now.

Is he “up there” smiling down on us? I’m not completely sure. I don’t know if a person can look down at this broken world and smile while they are in the glorious presence of our Creator. Yet, if anyone could smile while seeing this world full of pain and strife, it must be a person who has seen God and sees the thorns of the world from God’s perspective.

Is it okay? At this moment, I’m sure they don’t feel okay. I’m sure they hurt, and they are confused, frustrated, scared, maybe even angry. But okay? I think this is the worst one…it’s okay?

It’s not okay! This world is broken! Pain, difficulty, opposition, violence, addiction, selfishness, these things and countless more surround us.

It’s not okay, and that is why Jesus came. It’s not okay sin has punched holes in our cities, homes, and hearts. It’s not okay, that’s why Jesus died.

Death is a pain that comes in this broken world, but it is a pain that reminds us things are not okay.

The question is, what do we do with that pain? Glaze over it, attempt to fill the painful holes of life with pleasure, appetites, and anything else? Do we ignore it, attempt to say we aren’t bleeding out?! Or do we admit it…admit we are broken, we aren’t even close to perfect, we need a Savior; a Redeemer?

Jesus Christ came and lived perfectly because we can’t. Jesus died as the sacrifice we could never offer, He came and lived as a human to see and feel from our perspective–because it’s not okay. However, with Christ, in Christ, we have hope. A hope for something more, finding a life purposed for more than our brokeness. A life that isn’t characterized by the old but shines brightly with the new.

In Jesus Christ the pain of death still stabs our hearts, but in Him we also find relief. In Jesus, we find that life is not okay, the infection still resides in us and this world. At the same time, it is okay, because
1 Corinthians 15:55 reminds us death has lost its sting.

Death may sting now, it will continue to take people from this world tomorrow, but from an eternal perspective death is squashed–it has lost all power because of Christ. Death will come knocking, but for those who confess with their mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart God raised Him from the dead…no sting–just paradise.

For the believer, physical death merely brings an end to our brokeness and puts us in the presence of our Lord! The restoration we have started to experience in this world finds its completion as we stand in the presence of our Father, our Creator, our King, our Savior.

So, when death strikes, God doesn’t need them more, but hopefully through the experience of loss we realize we need God more…more than we act like, more than anything, more than we realize, more than the air we breathe.

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