My friend just died, and I’m straight up mad. There’s no one to hit, no one to fight. Just death… maybe that’s why it stings so bad. It’s not just the loss, but the no retaliation part. Death takes from us. It steals and hides like a coward. I’ve been through this before, but you never grow accustomed to it– not death. In these moments, the loss is raw. It stretches the seams of the heart, tearing in the places that don’t want to admit she’s gone. My head has let go, mostly, but my heart isn’t so easily swayed. It wasn’t holding on, so much as it was attached. But death doesn’t care. It rips anyway. One person is going, the other is staying. One soul is simply torn away, where the other cannot follow. Death uses love against us. Maybe that is why it hurts so deep. How do you fight against that? You can rage, you can protest, you can scream until no voice remains. It doesn’t matter, death has come to tear your heart out. It is the ugliest thing I can think of— the most sinister of wrongs imaginable. We were made for Love’s embrace, not for this; not us, and not my friend.
I watched them throw dirt on her today. I watched her children wrestle with it. I wanted to wrestle it for them, especially her youngest daughter, but I couldn’t. I don’t know if that is bad or good. I just know death doesn’t work like that. Death is completely indifferent to the sufferer and never discriminates, even for the young. That is the enemy we face— all of us. Nameless, faceless evil. It steals the treasures of our heart. It steals the ones we love. That is what I saw at that funeral. The cold finality of watching their mom, my friend, being lowered into a hole in the ground and covered up with dirt. It’s a mockery to the image of God. And that is exactly what she was; a daughter of God. That is my new definition for death: God-mockery.
Death should have no dominion over her or us. When God breathed into Adam’s mouth the inestimable gift of life, death set its sights on the newborns of creation— on us. What death did not realize though, is that God had set His own crosshairs on the grave. That is what I want to write about this morning. The Lord of Glory will contend with those who broke His children; those who use love as a weapon. That is a promise from scripture!
1 Corinthians 15:24-26 says:
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
O yes, scripture says very plainly that my God is going to do away with death one day, and I’m going to laugh until my sides hurt when he does. I’m going to kick up my heels and pull up to a table that He has spread, especially for my family, right in the presence of our enemies. The seams of our hearts will be mended. It took blood to do it, but boy did He do it! The time of earth will be passed, and there we’ll stand, the image of God, unbroken, clothed in the light of His righteousness… whole! No more pain, no more fear, no more sin and no more dirt thrown on our face because we are totally immune to death! And though vengeance is not ours, I can promise you this… satisfaction will be!
When our God rises from His throne, the pride of the enemy will fail. His feet will touch the earth, and the mountains will crack under the power of the Almighty! We will finally see God for who He really is, and be the only part of creation not consumed by His glory.
We will fix our eyes upon our great, great Father and watch as He turns His fiery gaze upon them all. Hell will cough up her damned and thunder will be the sound of their knees touching the soil; the enemies of our God— our enemies. If death has a voice, we will hear it scream. And not just death, but every demon, every principality, every power that is and ever was; those that are alive and even those already in outer darkness. God will pull them all out of hell for one moment; Can you imagine it? God will actually pause hell for one inescapable purpose. He is going to make them say it! They’re all going to say it… Death will confess, that the Lord of Life is Lord of all!
My friend will be there. Her children will too. The cancer that ate up her body will be gone, defeated, like all the other enemies of our God who dared to raise harm to His children.
We will gaze into the eyes of our accusers; not as slaves anymore, but as the image of God, reborn. And in the light of an eternal day, we will utter, with our Savior, the last words that death will ever hear.
Where… is… your… sting?
Dedicated to Janice Sims, Uncle Phil Willett, Red Robinson, Angela Cruise, Houston Jones, Abbey and Dawn Smith, and Mike Smith.