O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
Woody Allen was reported to have said that he wasn’t afraid of dying: he just didn’t want to be there when it happened. All very natural to consider death and dying as significant subjects.
Even Christians need to take it seriously. We may believe that through trust in Jesus, we share in his resurrection. The sting or penalty of death — eternal separation from God — is now not our destiny. For the Christian, death is not fatal. We die, yet we live. One chapter of our life story will end but the story of our lives is a never-ending story which goes on forever in one everlasting happy ending.
But it is sad for those left behind: gaps are left that can’t readily be filled. And premature death is a wound for those so bereaved that is only fully healed in the life to come. So we don’t take it lightly.
Yet for those who trust in Jesus, it is a beginning as well as an end. Those who so die don’t have a problem in the world. It is those who are left that are left with the tears and the loss and the grieving.
Our parents made many preparations for our birth. Perhaps we need to think similarly about our own dying, our own mortality. This is not morbidity, it is realism. One way we prepare is to cling to the one who assures us of eternal life. Another way is to invite others to experience that same assurance. Dying is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Dying without Jesus is.