I usually like to write about life, but death has been on my mind lately. I hate death because it has taken away some of the most precious people in my life.
One of my closest college friends died just a few years ago at the age of 42, way too young. And she didn’t just sleep her way out of this life, she fought tooth and nail for months against a horrible cancer that had no mercy.
Jaclynnette was that friend who could attract the coldest stranger and become pals before the day was through. She loved life. She loved her husband, her boys, her friends.
She danced when there was no music playing. She belly-laughed at the dumbest jokes. She hugged every time like it might be her last.
Not a single memory of her crosses my mind without a bittersweet smile. I miss her terribly.
When I was eight, my Poppy died after lots and lots of health problems and complications. He was my buddy.
Even though I was the kid always getting into trouble, Poppy understood me. He would spend hours with me when no one else would. Although it’s been over 30 years, I still think about him often and wish for more time.
I have also lost my mother-in-law and father-in-law to death in the last decade. Both were way too young; both still active and involved with every child and grandchild.
When I think about how their deaths not only hurt me, I literally want to shake my fist in anger when I realize how their deaths devastated my husband and our three daughters. It’s simply not fair.
There are many others in my life who have surrendered to death and I hate it! I’m guessing you have some you could list as well.
Just being honest, death is not pleasant. It hurts. It takes away something very precious to us. It stings.
In Paul’s first letter to the believers in Corinth, he addresses this very topic in chapter 15. Even 2,000 years ago, I’m guessing people dealt with the same issues and questions that we do today. They must’ve been wondering about the sting of death and how to live after experiencing the passing of a loved one.
Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah in verses 54 and 55: “the saying is written Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?”
He goes on to explain that Jesus Christ was indeed resurrected from the dead, according to the Scriptures. Because He defeated death once and for all, we who believe in Him will overcome death as well.
Friend, death is real and every human being will face it at some point. Our lives on this earth will not last forever. Let me share Paul’s direct words in I Corinthians 15:20 – “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead… For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.”
Did you catch that last part? In Christ all shall be made alive. If you put your faith in Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, God Himself, you will be made alive.
Death does NOT get the final say. Though your body on this earth will fail and death is imminent, you can have life eternal simply by being in Christ.
I am excited to tell you that I will be reunited with my friend Jaclynnette one day. I will hug my granddad again, my in-laws, and my other friends and family who chose to live in Christ. They knew Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and you can too.
No one knows the time or place or circumstances of their own death. But we can all know that death is coming. Are you ready? Do you know today that Jesus wants to give you life?
Trust Him, He does. He took away death’s sting once and for all, and for those of us who trust Him as our Lord and Savior, we can claim the victory as well.
I know this because He’s given me the victory in my own life and I can’t wait to reunite with my loved ones on the other side!
Sherry Weller is Executive Director of New Life Clinic in Wilmington.