One day we will each be swept away into the sleep of death.We glide along through the tides of time—
so quickly gone, like a dream that fades at dawn.
Like glistening grass that springs up one day and is dry and withered the next, ready to be cut down! Psalm 90: 5-6 TPT
In the space of six days, three precious people in our friendship circle have been swept away into death, all leaving behind haemorrhaging hearts. All three are tragic and two of them were very unexpected.
I am surrounded by raw grief.
The news reports tell me that in the same time frame, hundreds of unique souls have been killed in a terrorist attack and many more in floods and fires that have ravaged the globe, wrenching apart thousands more from their loved ones.
I am overwhelmed by a grieving world.
I grew up hearing the saying, “There are two things that are inevitable – death and taxes.” From my observation, we in the Western world do everything we can to avoid and ignore both!
Try as we may, death smacks us (and everyone one we love) in the face sooner or later. It is the ultimate equalizer… the one thing we cannot control and are powerless to escape.
Thousand of years ago, Moses had this to say about life, death and sorrow…
You’ve limited our lifespan to a mere seventy years,
yet some you give grace to live still longer.
But even the best of years are marred by tears and toils,
and in the end with nothing more than a gravestone in a graveyard! We’re gone so quickly, so swiftly; we pass away and simply disappear. Psalm 90:10
Life is sacred and short! Death is going to visit us all so what can we do to prepare for the inevitable without becoming morbid? How can we live each day as if it were our last? What would change for you if you did embrace the inevitable truth?
There is only ONE who claims to have totally obliterated the curse of death. ONE who stands alone in declaring that those who stand with Him will NEVER DIE! His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. His claims are unique and without comparison in this broken, suffering world. There is only ONE who has died and risen again to the place of honour at the right hand of God. He offers us all LIFE after death – forever in relationship with Him – I dare you to convince me of a better offer!
He is the only ONE who makes all these audacious claims…
“I AM the Way! I AM the Truth! I AM the Life!” (John 14:6)
“I AM the Resurrection and the Life!” (John 11:25)
He goes on, (just before raising Lazarus from the dead to prove His point!)…
“Those who believe in me will live, though they die; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
And much, much more scattered through the book of Revelation…
“Don’t be afraid!
“I AM the Beginning and the End – the First and the Last!”
“I AM the Living One. I was dead but look – I AM alive forever!”
“I AM the One who holds the keys of death and hell!”
I AM the One who makes all things new!
We can’t deny death or lighten its horrific toll. Death seems to have had its way this week, but because of the One and Only Jesus Christ, tomorrow is a very different story!
Friends, in a world that is turning to all manner of ideas and religions to try to find some relief to the agony of death, I am taking hold of this anchor of hope while being held by Jesus, the Great I AM.
Christian hope is not wishful thinking, ‘airy fairy’ nonsense! It is based on the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Word of God – His unique and unprecedented claims and promises! Let us never forget that all of this backed up with an empty grave and countless witnesses to the fact!
In Christ, death is not something to be ignored and feared, but to be prepared for and accepted. Ignoring death is to our great detriment – communally and individually.
Henri Nouwen, late priest and author, submits that our dying well can be the greatest gift believers in Christ can offer to the world. Death tears us apart but also brings us together.
“The great gift in our dying is the gift of unity with all people. However different we are, we are all born powerless, and the little differences we live in dwindle in the light of this enormous truth.” (Our Greatest Gift p. 42)
He then expounds of the unique gift Christians have to offer a dying world…
“…when we face death with hope, we can live life with generosity.” (p. 46)
I may be surrounded by death and grief right now, totally overwhelmed by all the suffering in this broken world but more than that…
I am encircled by the love of Christ.
Those of us who believe this have SUCH an incredible gift to offer to the world!
Believe. Receive. BE Ready to Die – and Live Forever!
Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept your correction. Psalm 90:12
A Prayer for the Grieving:
Not only can believers in Jesus die well, but we can also grieve well. We grieve when we love well, and we grieve well when we have hope. Moses ends his beautiful psalm with a prayer of hope and blessing that offers us a way to pray for our bereaved friends and for the grieving world this week…
Let the sunrise of your love end our dark night. Break through our clouded dawn again! Only you can satisfy our hearts, filling us with songs of joy to the end of our days.
We’ve been overwhelmed with grief;
come now and overwhelm us with gladness.
Replace our years of trouble with decades of delight.
Let us see your miracles again, and let the rising generation see the glorious wonders you’re famous for.
O Lord our God, let your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favour.
Come work with us, and then our works will endure,
and give us success in all we do. Psalm 90:14-17
A Song to Strengthen:
In Christ Alone was piped by Bethany’s friend, Stuart, as we entered the church for her Thanksgiving Service. Here is a version by Laura Daigle