The Sting of Death

Death.

We don’t really like thinking about it too much do we? I know I don’t.

I also feel that as a Christian death becomes even more complicated to deal with. The belief in eternal life makes the idea of death difficult to know how to react to. I believe it, but have a hard time echoing Hosea 13:14 and 1 Corinthians 15:55.

Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

To tell the truth, even though I believe in the idea of eternal life, death still stings quite a bit. Part of this is just the fact that even though eternal life is available, we don’t really know the ins and outs of who will be granted it. We aren’t the judge of that, God is. People we may think are in, may not be. The opposite could be true as well. It presents an uncomfortable unknown.

Death also stings because you have to deal with missing the loved ones who have died. Even if there is the idea that one day you will meet again, the reality is that you still miss them here and now. It’s been hard in our lives to move past the death of my grandmother at the end of last year.

It’s hard in the getting used to planning and doing family gatherings without here. It’s hard when you realize that you’re able to move on even though she’s no longer there. It’s hard when you hear your four year old brings it up every once in awhile and realizing it had a larger impact on him than you have realized.

This aspect of death has also been the topic even in a book and show that I’ve been watching. I’ve been making my way through Wizard and Glass the fourth book of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, and it is largely an extended flashback of the main character, Roland,  recounting the loss of his one true love. Even though her death was a long time ago, it still haunts Roland. Part of this is because he blames himself, but I don’t think it is all of it.

Another source of my thinking about death lately has been the anime Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. This story is about a group of childhood friends and how the accidental death of one of them ten years ago has impacted this group. The friends have largely all drifted apart and are dealing with the pain, guilt, and grief of this incident in different ways. It’s a sad story that shows that the sting of death can have deep roots.

So I feel I live in tension with death. On the one hand I do believe it is something that has been overcome. That God has sent the means to overcome it and that this way is available to anyone. On the other hand, death is still painful. Death is still hard to deal with and the loss of loved ones is not easily glossed over. It can leave scars for long after the actual loss. This tension is not a particularly comfortable one, but it is where I am regarding death.

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