Death often brings a clarity to life.
This has been a difficult week on multiple fronts - the needless and merciless deaths in a South Carolina church, saying farewell to a legendary and godly woman, Elisabeth Elliott, and much closer to home, releasing a close friend and fellow teacher to his eternal destination.
Death is a certain and expected outcome for all of us, but as a friend stated this morning, "it always takes us by surprise." We know it's coming, but then we are shocked when it is suddenly upon us.
Though I don't know without a doubt, I believe all of the aforementioned souls were those who had put their faith and trust in Christ. If this is indeed true, death was not a thief - stealing life from them, rather it was a doorway to true life - union with Jesus Himself.
As Jesus comforted Martha after her brother's death, he said:
“'I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”" - John 11:25
"All true life is in Christ.
In Him is lodged everything that is essential to life,
in its origin, its maintenance, and its consummation,
and all this is conveyed to the believer in his union with Him.
This life is not affected by death.
'Every believer is in reality and forever sheltered from death.
To die with full light, in the clear certainty of the life which is in Jesus,
to die only to continue to live to Him,
is no longer that fact which human language designates by the name of death."1
"To die only to continue to live to Him." This is why we were created - to live to, in and through Him.
Because Jesus is indeed the Resurrection and the Life - death is no longer our enemy. Instead, death removes any remaining barriers between us and Jesus.
"For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that 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 is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
- I Corinthians 15:53-57
Are you ready to live, to really live? Death is a portal to life - true life, life eternal, the life we were created to enjoy forever with the One whose very name and essence is Life.
Let us not mourn with despair those who have been promoted to unceasing, undivided union with Jesus. They would not want us to. Instead may their earthly departures clarify what this mortal life is most definitely about - a platform to step into eternity, our true home, the destination and union for which we were created.
1 Vincent's Word Studies