It’s no suprise that the older you get the more you might think about death. Death of all kinds of things. Careers. Friendships. Pets. Friends. Family. Yes, self. And when you think about it, it is not necessarily with a morbid sense of dread, but with a practicality that comes with age.
Even as we witness the way the earth is deteriorating, we witness things in our lives that are doing the same. A choice is to approach it with depression, anxiety, or fear. Or, as believers, face it with the knowledge that this is just a stopping place for us, and the home that awaits us will be everlasting. Something this earth and all it contains can never claim. Remembering, in whatever you face, you are not alone. God is always there, and He has people ready to help you through whatever you face. Super independence can be a real hindrance. Voice of experience, my friends. Don’t do life alone.
I’ve been listening to an audio book about someone who in the midst of tremendous pressure and the stress of personal danger, is discovering that God can be trusted. I was listening to the book because after a day of working around my apartment, lifting, loading, and cleaning, I have discovered muscles that are not happy they were disturbed, and arthritis that reminded me that pain can be a very real, and very constant, companion. Which led to a pause in the process of further clearing things out of the apartment. I have learned that overdoing things is a reminder I’m not thirty years old any longer. I thought about continuing, forcing myself through, but I’ve done that before, and ended up unable to do much for a week. So, taking a day off to listen to a book, to pray, to discuss life and death with the Lord, was a good use of my time.
Today, some of the process continues, hopefully with a bit more wisdom than what I used earlier in the week. But some of the thoughts of life and death and what lies ahead are still rolling around inside the brain. Which naturally led to scripture, which not only offers comfort and encouragement, but adds that seal of truth that only comes from the words the God has inspired.
Mystery and Victory
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – I Corinthians 15:50-58 (ESV)