When It Feels Like Death is Winning

Death, you bloody, cruel, heartless, thief, I see you everywhere these days.

missionary killed in Burkina Faso attack

Crouching in wait, you pounce suddenly on some, stealing them from us before we can turn our heads for one last look at their beautiful smiles, their precious eyes, their gentle hands.

Stalking others, invading from within by relentless disease that drains them from us slowly, an IV drip into eternity, as we shred our hearts between our hands like hats we hold out of respect for their suffering and pain – our own helplessness.

Separating and isolating hurting souls, you woo some to embrace you willingly with seductive lies of escape and rest or crushing delusions that we would be better off without them.

Recruiting others to do your work for you, the numbers on your counter click by the hundreds some days as thousands succumb to you by war, by famine, by gunfire, by sword, in hunger, in thirst, imprisonment, or ravaging assault. Some taken before the eyes of the world and others alone, unknown, unseen, or so you lead them to believe with your slithering falsehoods whispered in the dark.

But darkness cannot hide from the Light.

There is One who sees all.

There is One keeping a count that overrides your pathetic, festering tally.

There is One who reigns.

And one day, He will turn death back on itself and you will fall into your own burning pit where for you, there will be no mercy. You will taste the bitterness of your own deceptions and endure the second death, which those who love Him will never, never see. The grave will open its arms to you and welcome you into its eternal embrace. It will not feel like home – it will feel like hell.

And when He comes, He will bring our lives with Him, lovely, whole, and untouched by you or any other evil this world has devised. Our eternal lives He’s kept safe with Him, an investment against your interest, and we will inherit them as a gift that will never fade or age or die. As even the memory of you is snuffed out with a single one of His breaths, we will enter life forever. For us, there will be more love, more stories, more songs, more time to gather and know the fullness of His joy.

So, listen Death, here’s how it’s going to be until that day.

You will rob me of those I love and one day, you’ll rob them of me and that will be today’s agony. But, I won’t grant you godlike status and my eyes won’t be on you but on Jesus.

Every death that comes will remind me why it was necessary for Him to die on the cross, remind me of the battle for souls, remind me to take myself to my knees before Him and live as the victorious warrior I am in Christ, warring for every soul to choose Him and join Him in the eternal override.

Every death that comes will remind me that He overcame and therefore, I am an overcomer, too. I will snatch joy from the jaws of sorrow, I will rise from my weeping and dance, I will finish my fasting and feast on His Word that says your time will come. I will spread the word from hospital bed to chalk outline to hospice to Kids dancinggraveside gathering that for those who choose Jesus, there will be another adventure beyond the grave. Weeping will last for a night but joy comes with the morning.

As every casket closes over those who love Jesus, I will not say good-bye. “See you in the morning, loved one, when we rise,” are the words I choose for this temporary parting. You will not rob me forever and Jesus will sustain me until that great getting up morning comes.

And I will live now. Do you understand that, Death? I will live now. Battered, broken, sorrowing, disease-ridden, aging, aching, worrying, wondering, questioning, fighting pain and pills or prison guards and gunman, I will live until the moment you arrive. I will live for Him and in so doing every one of my breaths will count more than a century of yours because He lives in me.

If you come for me early, all the sooner I will see His face.

If you come for me qStoryuickly, He will watch over all I love.

If you come for me slowly, He will give me strength to endure.

If you come for me in old age, I will see every transformation of this old shell as an honor and an opportunity to see Jesus work on this side of glory. I will age gracefully as He provides the grace.

Do you hear His laughter, Death? I hear it, too, and I echo it now, even as you are at work because like Him, I know there is more to the Story and that you don’t appear in the next chapter.

You are a cruel, relentless, heartless thief and that may purchase you some ground on earth but just through that Doorway, Love reigns. That Doorfist away doesn’t open for you; but when those of us who love Jesus walk through it, we will even forget your name. Love reigns there forever and that is where our adventure will endure.

So Death, when we meet, remember this: You take nothing from me because I already gave my life to Jesus and it’s safe with Him. The joke’s on you.

And loved ones, when death comes for me, remember we only part for a time. The darkness will end like the night. I’ll see you on the morning. Look for me there.

In His Name,

All Who Call on the Name of Jesus Everywhere

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3 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. What a sobering yet victorious post, Lori. As I read it, my thoughts vacillated between sorrow and joy. Yet in the end, I proclaim with you, “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “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.” 1 Corinthians 15: 53-57

    From our place as humans, death is clothed in suffering and sorrow. God can lift our eyes to transform death into hope, peace, and victory. It’s not easy but it is a joyful Truth.

  2. Preach it, sister! Amen!

  3. Bruce Brady says:

    Beautifully written, Lori. Having faced him twice, and experiencing Jesus’ victory over him, I attest to the truth of your words. Keep preaching it. God bless you.