Victory in Death?

Death. A word that makes most of us cringe. I've dealt with plenty of it in my lifetime. Too much, to my way of thinking. How do we get over the pain of loss? How do we move on? How is it that the rest of the world keeps revolving when ours has stopped?

"Instead of praying for pain to be taken away, pray that he would not waste the pain... that he would use it to shape and mold us. Jesus is God's grand yes to our most desperate need." ~ Nancy Guthrie

Five years ago, I lost my niece before she was born. Since then, I've lost two uncles, another niece/nephew to miscarriage, two more nieces and a nephew (triplets), a cousin, and two friends. I also watched a church family lose their beloved wife/mother. While these have not been my children or my husband or my mom, they were people dear to me. Yet, I don't hurt for the departed. I hurt for my loss. More than that, I hurt for the loss of the people I love. I stagger between soul deep pain on their behalves and shutting my heart off. How can anyone continue in such pain?

"Sometimes God delivers us out of the difficulty, but sometimes he delivers us through the difficulty." ~ Nancy Guthrie

A friend told me this kind of pure love from the heart is an encouragement. Do you agree? I often wonder if I'm more annoying than encouraging. God knows me. He knows if I could take away their pain, I would! Yet, that's not what he wants. We are to bear one another's burdens, are we not? Jesus's pain was greater than anything we could ever imagine and he uses that pain for us every moment of every day - making intercession. He knows our pain. He feels our pain. He stores our every tear in his bottle. Do you think perhaps the pain we bear on one another's behalf is a way in which we are to be like Christ?

"The Gospel has never been about fairness, but about mercy. Forgiveness (and I would add love) is choosing to absorb the pain." ~ Nancy Guthrie

"You kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" 
Psalm 56:8 (ESV)

Too easily I forget that Jesus holds me. He carries me. He is my very best friend. I suffer for lack of connection to him, but that is my fault, not his. My pastor, Dr. Derek Thomas, often says we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves every day. Every morning we wake up, we need to remember who Jesus is, what he is done, and cling to him in every season of life. This I need to learn!

In Christ, there is hope beyond death. In Christ, there is victory. Death hurts because sin hurts. I wonder. When we lose a loved one and feel that awful separation from them, do we ever think about what it was like for Jesus to be separated from the Father in his death for us? Do we think about the Father's heart, how it must have broken when his precious, pure son took on our load of sin and he had to turn his back on him? Is the separation we feel possibly a small picture of that moment in history? Do we ever think about how permanent a separation death would be if Jesus hadn't died for us? 

"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
I Corinthians 15:55 (ESV)

*Nancy Guthrie is the author of "Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow".

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