Tonight I went to the viewing...tomorrow is the funeral and I won't be able to make it. There is much sadness and loss felt when you see a loved one's body laying there-looking somewhat lifelike and yet so un-lifelike. Watching children mourn the sudden loss of a mother is deeply troubling, especially for a mother's heart. As other friends and I met together to remember the faith of our friend I was encouraged. Earlier this week I had read 1 Cor 15 which talks all about the hope of the resurrection. I tell you, there were those hoping for her resurrection this week. However, we all are hoping for her (and our own) resurrection in the body, when Jesus returns. In the meantime though, we know that her spirit, her very life, the M that we knew, is still in existence. She is with Jesus! She is fully known and fully loved and all things are complete in her. She lacks nothing and sin no longer touches her life with any of its devastating effects. She is now beholding the Father in all his glory and rejoicing at His name in His presence!
As I was reading chapter 15 I was struck by "we will not all die, but we will all be changed." The imagery earlier in the chapter is how things come from their like seeds. With gardens sprouting all over down here in the south I'm seeing this firsthand. We planted "dead" seeds and now new life that looks totally different is sprouting up soon to produce fruit. When Jesus returns it will be like the seeds sprouting into full, mature, fruit-bearing plants in a moment! That then is when the true sting of death is overturned for death will hold no power at that point! Paul says the sting of death is sin. He doesn't say the sting of sin is death. The result of death on this earth is that sin runs rampant. M is no longer bound by sin and a life of struggle against the pull of the enemy in this realm against her new creature in Christ. That is where death has lost all victory! The enemy has lost her entirely! She is free. Free from death! Free from sin!
And as we closed the evening in a circle with many people I don't even know, a man prayed. He prayed for the family left behind and for friends and those who are affected by their personal loss-which is indeed deep. And yet, he rejoiced in the hope we have of seeing M again. In the hope she had of seeing her loved ones again. And in the hope of a life lived out of overcoming sin and now, ultimately, through Jesus and his resurrection, that has overcome even death! So is there a world where hope and death co-exist? Absolutely! The only hope we have on earth is in death-defeated by God's very Son who died and then raised back to life so that all people of all times would have hope. Praise Jesus for that hope! And praise Jesus for M whose faith inspired much hope in many people!
Carolyn & (sometimes) Ty