Oh death, where is thy sting?
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Corinthians 15:55 (KJV)
I recently wrote a post on FB, it read ‘Can I be honest? I no longer understand death...I think it's time we talk about it.’ For a hot minute, I have not been so transparent on social media as I believe there’s a time and place for everything but for some reason I did. I must thank those who have reached out and I believe it is because you also identify with my sentiments.
I thought it would be useful to expand on these thoughts and provide some clarity.
For a few years, I have watched several friends and close acquaintances lose a family member to cancer. Some have even suddenly passed away. These usually occur in waves and after intense prayers, we would ‘appear’ to lose our battles. At first I’d mourn briefly and move on with life. However, as I have aged, I have begun to seek for more answers. I feel part of this delayed response has been due to the fact that I still have all my family members and in good health. In essence, there has been no direct cause of questioning.
I am a Christian and I have been brought up with the ideology that, although I am in a relationship with God, He is the higher authority and some questions are not to be asked. I beg to differ. I recognise the sovereignty of God and will always acknowledge it, however I believe I am permitted to ask questions. The only issue here is I may never receive an answer or the answer will not be satisfactory. I should also avoid to question God himself because I am a mere mortal, alive by His mercies alone.
What has further contributed to this season of questioning if you will, is that I’m currently studying the book of Job with a few friends. I have read and assimilated the pain Job tried to convey and am amazed. Job DID vent and he DID complain but funnily enough it was ALWAYS done BEFORE God. Not once did Job hide his thoughts from God. Another point to take away from Job was that he somehow, in all his pain, recognised the sovereignty of God and never denounced His supreme authority through his speech.
Back to my Facebook post. I still stand with the statement but I will explain my angle. I have essentially been emotional. I wonder how my friends carry on with life without their mother or father. Who will walk them down the aisle? Who will nurse them when they have had their children? Who will they refer to when adult life hits them? I strongly believe Jesus is their comforter and will be their ever present help in time of need. However, I am also aware of the purpose behind parents and the value of their presence in our lives, so if I am honest, it hurts sometimes.
I was encouraged to read Philippians 1:21 and boy o boy did it provide a perspective. I also read 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 and Thessalonians 4:13-18
I’ll share what I learnt from these scriptures:
1. Death was not the original plan but now is as a result of sin in the beginning
2. Death is therefore inevitable; everyone will eventually die
3. Jesus conquered death by His sacrifice on the cross
4. Believers have hope in Christ
5. We all have a purpose to fulfill and when that time is up, we will essentially leave
6. God’s ways and his plans are different to ours and we should remember that
I hope in sharing this; I’ve been able to highlight the key themes running through my mind over the past few weeks.
I pray for anyone reading this who has lost a loved one that God truly comforts you and I also pray that you stay strong in the faith.
I still believe death and bereavement is a topic Christians should talk about in depth as it has impacted everyone, one way or another.