“To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d.” William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”
Today we’re attending another funeral. This makes the third one this year – one a month. I’m certain this won’t be the last one. It seems to be a natural part of the aging process. It makes me wonder why some die so young and others suffer through much pain to finally fall into the slumber of eternal rest. Why wasn’t it me? or why did this young person have to die? He was just beginning his life. Death can seem so unfair – so incomprehensible – so final.
All those thoughts gnaw away at us who remain behind. Death for the Christian isn’t like that. When we can see joy on the face of a bereaved Christian – there is no sting. When we can see hope and contentment through constant tears – there is no bite. For those who know that life doesn’t end with death there is only victory. Of course there will be pain because we naturally miss those who go before us. Tears won’t stop because we believe in eternal life. Those are human feelings and even our Savior, Jesus experienced grief.
We do, however, have peace in knowig that death isn’t final for those who believe that Jesus redeemed us and we are guaranteed a place in heaven because of that. Christ died to make that happen. God in his infinite mercy made that happen. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and gives us the courage and confidence to move on.
Death is the result of sin. Unfortunately “sin” is a word not being used much today. No one likes to hear they are doomed to hell if they don’t repent and believe that Jesus has paid the price. It has to do with taking responsibility for our actions – not an easy concept for many to understand, but when you know you need forgiveness for your actions and that Christ has willingly done that at no cost to you, death means eternal life.
We’ll say goodbye to another friend today, but we know we’ll see him again. What confidence that thought gives to us and to those who knew this man. Death cannot restrain us anymore. To live for us is Jesus – to die is gain for us.