January 14, 2020
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55, NIV 1984).
Today I told two people that it would be futile to continue the fight against their malignancies and that their lives would likely be measured in weeks. The first man told me, “It’s all good. I’m going home.” The second young woman said, “I’m at real peace.” Her husband then clarified, “She’s like a child on the edge of the pool, jumping with arms outstretched for her Daddy.”
These responses to impending death are certainly not normal, but they are Christian.
They are Christian in that these two patients are grounded in the truth that their lives will not end when they take their last breath. They are grounded in a relationship with the One who has defeated death, the One who will hold their hands as they walk through a door that leads to joy instead of a gateway to the abyss.
These responses come from a confidence that our small story on this side of glory is but a prelude to the greater story that encompasses both sides of death’s door—that death-door built from the broken timbers of our sin and opened by the wood of the cross.
Have we committed our lives to the story much bigger than our own?
Have we committed our deaths to a future much longer than that we can now see, to the One who has saved us from death itself and is calling us home?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, headed for the Nazi gallows at age 39, said, “This is the end—for me the beginning of life.” Such an approach to death is not normal, but it is Christian.
Thank you for delivering me from death. Let that truth infiltrate and change all the decisions of my life.