Death everywhere. Madmen blowing up people in Boston. A sadistic doctor killing babies and mothers. My strong and beautiful mother-in-law slowly fading away, losing the battle against cancer. The grass does indeed wither. The flower does indeed fade. Thank God for his mercy!
Jesus Christ got up on that cross and paid for the grossness of sin. He set his face like flint to do it. With his atoning sacrifice, he eradicated death and the consequences of our depravity. With crucified arms opened wide, he says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
He loves us that much. He could not be dissuaded from his purpose. He does whatever it takes. He knows our deepest, darkest corners of ugly and horrific sinfulness. Knowing, he orchestrated the events so they would kill him, sacrificing himself to pay for each and every one. He wants us. He knows we need him. He is the embodiment of love and mercy.
Even those madmen can be forgiven. Even that sadistic doctor. All they need do is turn to Christ and ask. We don’t want them to be forgiven, but God does.
As I read the article about the corrupt doctor’s trial the pictures of the Boston bombing play in the background. Meanwhile the tick, tock, tick of my mother-in-law’s days wind down. The immensity of our need for Christ overwhelms me. What would we do without him!
I wake and sleep death now. The moment cognizance touches my mind, my first concern is my husband. I roll toward him and wrap warm arms over him, loving compassion into him before he rolls out of bed. I keep my eyes fastened on his face, probing his eyes, attempting to discern what he needs from me as he loses his mommy. I pour on affection. He’s still trudging off to work, deciding when to go, when the work can be escaped. The inevitable can’t be avoided.
Meanwhile, I’m cooking the manuscript. It’s about the first murder and its aftermath. Cain kills Abel; destruction and violence increase. Can God be found in atrocity? This death saturation has pumped up my final run-through. God superintends our days.
What a blessing to know that the Seed of the woman has crushed the serpent’s head. Having done so, Christ Jesus draws us to himself in love, promising forgiveness and an eternal inheritance that can never be taken away, an eternity with him. No more death!
All we have to do is believe and turn to him in repentance. He does all the rest. He even gives the faith and softens our hearts to repent.
Though we haven’t yet seen him face to face, we love him for who he is, for his sacrifice, for his indwelling presence, for how he carries us through this life. We live out our days as foreigners here, relying on him to help us respond in love and compassion like he does, knowing he promises to put us back together, restored and made whole again when this is all over.
This is not the end.
“After you have suffered a little while, God himself will restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10b).
How do these promises hold you together when facing death?