“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”— Psalm 23:4 (NASB).
The recent death of a dear friend to cancer has left me asking, once again, “Why, Lord, why?” Cat is the second friend I’ve lost to cancer this year. She would have been 68 on September 27. Much too young, if you ask me.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate. Neither does death. It’s the ultimate fate of every human who has and will walk this earth.
However, when a life is cut short, leaving loved ones to mourn, it can leave a path of darkness behind. Only Jesus can lead the hurting from the valley of despair to the mountain of hope where comfort is found in His loving arms.
Where, Death, is Your Power to Hurt?
In 1 Corinthians 15:55, the Apostle Paul writes, ““Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your power to hurt?” (GNT)
But, in spite of the hope we find in Jesus, even Christians can struggle with death. We know Jesus has conquered the grave. Still, we wonder why we’ve been robbed of a loved one so soon.
My friend’s diagnosis came unexpectedly. Most people who are diagnosed didn’t expect to face the disease. I know, because I am a 17-year survivor. Praise God!
Finding Comfort after Death
Commenting on 1 Corinthians 15:55, American theologian Albert Barnes, wrote “No commentary can add to the beauty and force of the language in this verse; and the best way to see its beauty, and to enjoy it, is to sit down and think of death.”
Think of death? But Barnes’ explanation of those verses brings peace. He adds, “of what death has been, and has done; of the millions and millions that have died; of the earth strewn with the dead, and ‘arched with graves;’ of our own death; the certainty that we must die, and our parents, and brothers, and sisters, and children, and friends; that all, all must die; and then to suffer the truth, in its full-orbed splendor, to rise upon us, that the time will come when death shall be at an end. Who, in such contemplation, can refrain from the language of triumph, and from hymns of praise?”
Indeed, how can we refrain from praise when we know the ultimate outcome of death for those who believe? But what about those who don’t?
No One Escapes Death
When we’re younger, we don’t think much about death. The older we get, the more we realize our days are numbered. There is more of our life on earth behind us than before us.
That should give us pause because we don’t know when we’ll breathe our last. For believers, it should be a wake-up call to ensure our loved ones, both family and friends, understand the consequences of unbelief.
I’ve been there. For my father, it was a day of reckoning. It’s not that he didn’t believe but a matter of understanding what it means to accept and follow Jesus, knowing He is the only One who can save us from our sins.
What if Today Were You Last?
Have you ever wondered what you would do if you knew when you would breathe your last? Would you stop living, focused instead on dying?
Christian pastor Max Lucado once said, “If today were your last, would you do what you’re doing? Or would you love more, give more, forgive more? Then do so! Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there’s no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again.”
When death comes calling, will you embrace the open arms of Jesus? Death is the ultimate victory. It’s merely a transition from this world to our Heavenly home.
I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, or visit my blog for more inspiration at www.carolaround.com. If you need a speaker or workshop leader, you can contact me at the above e-mail or through my website. I’d be delighted to hear from you.
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