My heart ached as I stared down into the freshly dug grave.
Oh, how dark the muddy, cold earth looked around the little box that held my cousin’s stillborn baby girl. Death had come to our family again and in a crushing defeat. No joy would come, no hopeful celebration of a new little life. It was all taken away from a family who would have loved and cherished her.
Death. The separator of close and precious relationships, the destroyer of joy. A fear bringer, and hope killer. It makes the strongest hearts ache and the most courageous fall to their knees with its finality.
Is there any hope to be found when the grave has taken away so much from so many?
Death is devastating.
Not only does it take away the ones we love, but it also leaves behind empty hands and empty hearts crying out in confusion. And then the grief ensues.
C.S Lewis, after losing his wife to cancer, accurately wrote that “The death of a beloved is an amputation.” A friend told me that losing someone was like losing a leg, though you can heal, you will forever walk with a limp. You will never be the same again.
In June of 2021 my dear ten-year-old cousin, Silas, died in a tractor accident. It was the worst summer of my life as I watched his brokenhearted parents and five siblings walk such a painful and confusing road. Then in February, this same sweet family lost the little girl I mentioned above. Watching them lose their son and daughter and still believe in the goodness of God has amazed and driven me to bless and trust in the God “who gives and takes away,” (See Job 1:21).
Our Hope Despite Death
The reality is that death hurts more than anything. But is it possible to find grace and peace in such a wretched and horrible thing?
It surely is possible. And we find that possibility only in Jesus Christ.
He came to defeat sin and death once and for all so His people might be free from hopeless grief. Through Him, we are “born again to a living hope,” (1 Peter 1:3) and have confidence that one day Christ will come and make everything new, and give us new bodies, perfect and shining with His glory. Death will be no more, and we will live forever on the New Earth in blissful joy and satisfaction.Death is a dark and awful thing to experience. But even in the agony, there is hope of resurrection life for those who are in Christ Jesus. Click To Tweet
Death is a dark and awful thing to experience. But even in the agony, there is hope of resurrection life for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The Slayer of Death
Even though we will all die one day, Christ has given us an incredible promise. On the day when we are laid in graves on earth, that will not be the end. As we watch those we hold so dear to our hearts suffer and die, we can know that our last goodbye is not the final word. Death does not have the final word. What a glorious Savior we have indeed! That He has given us sweetness in the bitterness of death.
Romans 14:8 says, “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” This is such a comforting truth, that even death cannot rip us out of Christ’s hands. We are His forevermore.
The End is Only the Beginning
Incredibly, the moment our bodies fail, and our hearts stop beating, as those who love Christ, we will finally see Him with our own eyes. Right now, when Christians die, they go to the present Heaven, and though it is much better than our sin-cursed earth, there is a day coming when Christ will renew and restore this old broken-down earth and transform it into an incredible, breathtaking New Earth.
It will be a home where we will live and worship our King forever and be with believers who have loved Christ until the end. Death is only the beginning for those who trust in Him.The New Earth will be a home where we will live and worship our King forever and be with believers who have loved Christ until the end. Death is only the beginning for those who trust in Him. Click To Tweet
The sacrifice of Jesus snatched the power of death out of Satan’s hands. He took something so brutal and softened the blow for us. So yes, sin and all its effects including death are an enemy we will face until Christ’s return. But for those who are in Christ, death will not get the final victory over the grave.
So, When You Walk Through the Valley
No doubt you have already experienced your fair share of sorrows and losses in life. Sadly, there are many more to come until Christ brings us home. But when we walk, even if seemingly alone, through the sadness and pain, we can trust that the presence of God envelops us. Psalm 23:4 provides a tangible metaphor describing the closeness of Christ as we walk through the darkness of grief: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Because Christ came to us as a human being on a broken earth, inevitably He experienced grief and sorrow. Friends like Lazarus died. His dear cousin John was beheaded because of a selfish plot. He was surrounded by diseased, lost, and hurting people. If anyone understands the lonely, miserable path of grief and heartache, Jesus does. And therefore, He is more than able to be the Friend you need when you’re faced with the loss of someone you love.If anyone understands the lonely, miserable path of grief and heartache, Jesus does. And therefore, He is more than able to be the Friend you need when you’re faced with the loss of someone you love. Click To Tweet
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
(He Giveth More Grace, by Annie J. Flint).