Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Death Has Lost Its Sting

Back when I was still growing up, I remember some of my friends loved playing with scorpions. They would normally cut the sting off rendering the scorpion harmless and then let it run over their faces and bodies. My friends would even throw the scorpions at some unsuspecting passerby to provoke consternation and make some laughs. Some of the scorpions were more that 4-inches long and so it was a fearsome sight to watch the scorpions running over a person’s face, especially since they would raise their tails at times as though they were getting ready to sting. But the scorpions could not sting any more and thus were no longer able to hurt anyone. Knowing this fact helped my friends and me from feeling any fear whenever these sting-less scorpions crawled over us.

I was reminded of this incident while ministering at a funeral for a friend who went home to glory after suffering a cancer relapse. For many people, death is a fearsome thing because it seems so final. A person’s history has ended. Yet, my friend was able calm amidst the knowledge of knowing her life was ending soon. She did not lament her relative short life (49 years) or complain about the ‘unfairness’ of it all. In fact, there was joy in her heart and she was able to bring closure to all her personal matters while she still had strength and a clear mind. What made it possible for my friend to weather this transition from life on earth to eternity unshaken and at peace? It was because of her relationship with her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. She had total trust in his promises for her regarding eternity and life after death. Thus, she found death sting-less and no longer something fearsome to face.

The beautiful thing about our Christian faith is that death is not the final chapter in the history of an individual, but the beginning of a new life that was eternal. Whatever possessions, power and privileges, the one truth we need to bear in mind is that we too ultimately face death. However, as certain as we are that we will one day die, so can we be certain that we are going to rise again. The Bible tells us that Jesus, not only died for our sins, but rose from the dead and is living today. This fact, attested to by witnesses in history, is our guarantee that we shall also rise from the dead. Therefore, we can joyfully declare, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor 15:55,56). Jesus has removed the sting of death and it is now no longer the fearsome sight that it used to be for us.

Therefore, our most important question in life is not “when will death come for me?” None of us can know that except that it definitely will come for us. The most important question we need to ask ourselves is “Will I be ready to meet Jesus when death does come?” My friend was certainly ready because of her trust in all the promises that Jesus Christ has made to her in God’s Word. May God continue to grant us the grace to be just as ready!

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