Dealing with Death: A Christian Perspective
It REALLY hurts to see a close friend or relative die. It spurs something deep inside you that says, "It's not supposed to be like this… One minute my world was 'normal' and the next…unbearable…" Things like this make everything else seem…small…and…insignificant…
You may get angry with God…questioning Him…and even questioning your faith…wondering where God is during all of this. But I assure you…God…is…love!!! (1 John 4:8, 16) And He's big enough to handle your questions! (Genesis 18:20-33)
In John 11 we read about Jesus and Lazarus. Lazarus was a great friend of Jesus. He was even referred to as "the one [Jesus] love[d]". (John 11:3) He became very sick and then died. Mary, Lazarus' sister, met with Jesus and said "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:21) Jesus told her "I AM the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in Me and will never perish." (John 11:25-26)
Martha went to Mary, her sister, and told her that Jesus wanted to see her. She came…RUNNING…fell at His feet and cried out the same words as her sister. "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:32) When He saw her and the others weeping…He was torn inside…and began to weep too.
You repeatedly heard that they are "in a better place" and that you should "remember the good times." Though that may be true, it doesn't always offer comfort. I am jealous when I think about Christian friends and family not having to deal with pain…or especially bills. But to be honest, I miss them…and that hurts…
See, Jesus wept when He saw how much Lazarus's death hurt his sisters, and I believe He weeps for those affected by the loss of a loved one. Because of that, Christ's preparing a place for those of us who have put our trust in Him where this kind of stuff will never happen again. Christ has victory over death and this is NOT our home!!! Every tear will be wiped away and we will spend eternity in the Father and Son's presence! We won't even need the sun anymore, because THEY will be our Light! (John 11:1-45, John 14:1-3, Revelation 21:1-7)
Romans 10:9-10 tells us that, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved."
All of that to say…yeah…it hurts. It's okay to hurt…and knowing the truth isn't going to make it not hurt. However, our hope is in the resurrection! (Acts 23:6) If you have put your trust in Christ, then you too will see your Christian loved ones again…and better than ever! Our hope is in knowing that we'll be in the presence of the Father and Son for eternity, where none of this happens! And THAT is the hope for which we are to be ready to explain!!! (1 Peter 3:15)
There is a wonderful metaphor God has given us in the Bible to better understand all of this:
1 Corinthians 15:35-58 (NLT)
But someone may ask, "How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?" What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn't grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a dry little seed of wheat or whatever it is you are planting. Then God gives it a new body–just the kind He wants it to have. A different kind of plant grows from each kind of seed. And just as there are different kinds of seeds and plants, so also there are different kinds of flesh–whether of humans, animals, birds, or fish.
There are bodies in the heavens, and there are bodies on earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the beauty of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their beauty and brightness.
It is the same way for the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, so also there are spiritual bodies.
The Scriptures tell us, "The first man, Adam, became a living person." [Genesis 2:7] But the last Adam–that is, Christ–is a life-giving Spirit. What came first was the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Every human being has an earthly body just like Adam's, but our heavenly bodies will be just like Christ's. Just as we are now like Adam, the man of the earth, so we will someday be like Christ, the man from heaven.
What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever.
But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die.
For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.
When this happens–when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die–then at last the Scriptures will come true:
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the Law gives sin its power. How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved.