“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor. 15:26)
Those words have been stuck in my head these last two weeks–and the reminders are everywhere.
As you read in last week’s beautiful post by my fellow blogger Allison about the unexpected death of her sister Jodi, death still seems to be winning. The previous week marked what would have been my dad’s 86th birthday. We lost him last July, just 8 weeks after my mom lost her battle with cancer on June 3rd. Her birthday on May 1st is not a day I’m looking forward to, nor is Mother’s Day.
And as I write, my friend and co-worker in the cubicle next to me is watching vigil with his family gathered at the bedside of his elderly mother who is slipping away into eternity. The eerie parallels to last May for my family are uncomfortably familiar.
Death stinks! I hate it. It’s a ruthless enemy. I know it’s the last enemy to be destroyed before Jesus starts making everything new. I, for one, can’t wait.
In his vision of the way things will someday be, John wrote of it this way:
“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the thrown said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” (Rev. 21:4-5)
The real deal is that someday, death will be decisively crushed under the heel of Jesus Christ, the One who tasted death for us all so that we too can share in His victory dance.
“‘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.” (1 Cor. 15:54-57)
So, until that day when we will dance on the grave of death with our Lord, let’s embrace one another with words of comfort, prayers of support and acts of compassion in our times of loss, sorrow and grief.
For more on facing death, check out Michael Wittmer’s The Last Enemy.