People die. That is true for everyone. There has never been a time when I was not aware of this, but I have never been around dieing people. The reality has rarely hit home.
Once, I went to a hospital to sing for a man who was dying of cancer. I had never met him before. He was old. His hair was falling out due to his sickness. His body trembled and his eyes announced his happiness, emitting tears; a weeping founded in joy. He was joyful because he knew the blood of Christ. He has seen it wash his erroneous nature. I trembled too… witnessing a soul so close to the gates of paradise.
People were not meant to die. People say that death is natural. It is not. It has never been. It will never be. The death of a plant is natural. The death of an animal maybe… but the death of a human being has no hint of natures doing. Death is the doing of a curse. We all live beneath the curses reign…
“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” –Gen 3:19
There is a story in the gospel of John where Jesus hears of Lazarus’ sickness. He knows that Lazarus will die. He knows that he will bring him back to life. Yet when he arrived and saw Mary and the people with her weeping, his spirit was moved and he also wept. I often wondered why Jesus would weep when he knew that he was about to bring Lazarus back from the dead. Jesus wept because he was seeing one of the most tragic results of sin. He was a friend of Lazarus... loved Lazarus. Jesus also loved Mary and the other people who were weeping there. He saw the pain in their eyes… could hear the grief in the sobbing. Jesus wept because he was experiencing the effects of sin on humankind first hand.
Jesus was human. I forget that.
There is good news in the midst of darkness. Good news is an understatement. Jesus says in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and every one who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
These words breathe life. Fashioning hope, they grant freedom to live knowing that death is inevitable.
THOUGH HE DIE, YET SHALL HE LIVE.
Death exists, but Christ is the resurrection and life. By his grace I shudder at the sound of these words. By his mercy my once-dead soul believes in what sounds foolish to the world. I pray that by his strength I might be like Jesus to whomever God sends me.
Lord, make me salt.