I hate death

The recent murders in Aurora have reminded me that I hate death.  It screams of an inherent wrongness.  It is counter intuitive to the relational wiring of who we are as humans.  You hear it shouted through the words of Rebecca Wingo’s father when he wrote an emotional Facebook post in the aftermath of his daughter’s appalling death.

“I lost my daughter yesterday to a madman, my grief right now is inconsolable, I hear she died instantly, without pain, however the pain is unbearable.  Lord why, why, why????,” wrote Steve Hernandez.

We were never created to experience the tragedy and separation of death.  Yet we are stuck in a cosmic paradox.  As spiritual beings we are meant for eternity.  Yet our eternal spirits reside in fading flesh.  A flesh that suffers the results of sin, sickness and the evil that Man may perpetrate on a daily basis. 

From birth forward we pursue, chase and embrace relational connection.  While at the same time drawing closer, day by day, to the moment of our own passing.  This is not how it was meant to be.  We were intended for unbroken union.  Union with one another and union with a loving God.  At worst we were intended for “see you later”.

Officiating many funerals over the years, the one unifying factor is the power of relationships.  Rich, poor, young, old; relationships are what connect us.  They add value to our present.  They define us.  When they are taken from us, they are what injure us the most.  Even when death brings a release to those suffering through horrible pain or disease, it still feels inherently wrong.

I find hope though in a God who understands the contrariness of death. He is intimately acquainted with the earth shattering power of abruptly severed relationships.  Jesus’ death on the cross represented the only time in eternal history when the Trinity was severed.  In the moment that Christ drank full from the cup of sin and death the relationship between He and the Father was broken.  Where there was once unity and oneness, separation and death took their place.  Thankfully, Jesus emerged victorious from the tomb having defeated death and now offers that same victory to all who trust in Him.

The victory of the empty tomb reminds me that death does not have the final say.  It reminds me that Jesus has made a way to lovingly restore the relationships that death attempts to take from us.

Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Yes, I do hate death.  It is tragic, painful and heartless.  But I praise God that it does not have the final word.  Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross demonstrates God’s compassionate understanding of the unnatural tragedy of death.  Death is in fact “unnatural”.  It is not what was intended.  What a great battle is lost when we acquiesce to the lie that death is part of the natural order of life. 

Life is the natural order. 

God’s every act is to restore what sin and Satan have broken.  Jesus said, “I have come to give you life.  Life abundantly!”  It is this hope, this restoration of relationships, this redemption of present pain that carries me through to the time when all will be restored to its natural order.  Please join me in praying for all those impacted by the senseless killings that they would experience restoration and redemption.

Joel Thomas

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