Monday, November 26, 2012

The Death of Death

“…to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month…as the time when [they] … got relief from their enemies and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into celebration.” Esther 9:21-22.

We all have dates that are forever burned onto our hearts and into our minds, some joyful like births but others heartbreaking like deaths.  The painful anniversaries of departed loved ones approach with such power of dread, grief and sorrow.  Personally speaking, Feb 2, March 15 and March 16 hold buckets of tears as my loved ones lost their battles to Alzheimer’s and cancer.  Illness of any kind is an enemy that wages war against our physical bodies.  It is a relentless opponent that never tires of attacks.  Enduring any kind of illness, whether mental or physical, wears down the body and the soul.  I have repeatedly witnessed how illness temporarily robs one of everything, leaving its victim sorrowful and sad with the reality of life on earth winding down. 

But what about seeing their departures through the spiritual lens of Heaven?   What about tuning our spiritual ears to the distant cheers above?  As our loved ones exhale their final breath on earth, their next inhale is the spiritual fragrance of Heaven.  As they breathe life in the joyful surrounding of Christ, illness breathes it final breath on earth.  Illness dies when our loved ones are given relief from their enemies of suffering. 

When these dates roll around and I am tempted to be sorrowful and mourn their death, I must remember that the only thing that died on those dates was the enemy.  Their suffering no longer holds the power of pain in their lives.  On these dates, my loved ones’ sorrow was turned to joy and their mourning was turned to dancing as they celebrated death to sin and suffering.  As we sat at their funeral, they were sitting at the funerals of their enemies – cancer and Alzheimer’s.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Rev 21:3-4.

I’ll just bet that my loved ones joyfully anticipate the anniversaries of when their enemy died once and for all, and everything about them was made new!

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