“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor 15:54-57
We see death around us every day.
- in social media
- in our families
- in the horror stories of violence
Death is a part of our lives. Some of us are touched by it more frequently than others.
Death comes to us all.
This weekend I experienced the death of a dear friend and sister in Christ. We’ve known one another (both online and in real life) for decades! Her loss is acutely felt and my heart aches – especially for her dear children.
But I know this woman, her heart, her faith, her passion, and most importantly, her God.
My friend had shared her story many times and in many places. She shared her tales of being bullied to groups of school children. She shared her stories of hope to those struggling with cancer. She shared her stories of rejection to groups needing to hear the possibility of love and acceptance.
She learned to draw/paint (<–click link to see her artwork) late in life and has glorified God over and over again through her art – always an expression of her faith in her glorious God! She faithfully raised and homeschooled 7 wonderful children (for many years alone), who continue to follow Jesus in their lives.
Years of cancer battles followed painful personal trauma.
In all of this, her trust was in Jesus.
What is the meaning of death for the believer?
My friend died as she lived. Wrapped in the arms of Jesus. Her daughter said it was her mom’s practice these last years to rise at 5 am to meet with the Lord and that it was no surprise that Jesus took her home at 5:30 in the morning. Her spirit was already connected with her Lord. Her body finally caught up.
She stepped from life into life.
On this world it seemed like a quite gentle homeschooling mom lost a battle with cancer. But in Heaven, a mighty warrior for the Kingdom was coming home! She was ushered in with HALLELUJAHS and fanfare and trumpets! She finally was able to stand face-to-face with Jesus.
Another friend said that it was cool that our sister warrior was honored into Glory on Veteran’s Day! Our sister who
- fought the good fight
- ran the race to the end
- stared the enemy in the face
- stood firm in the Mighty Name of Jesus!
For the believer, death is not defeat. For the believer, death is victory! A victory that was won on the cross by the One who defeated death forever. Our bodies may die but WE never do!
Stepping from life into life.
Death is swallowed up in victory! 1 Cor 15:54
We talk about this truth, but we don’t always realize what it means.
My friend is no longer in the shell of her body. The one riddled with cancer and twisted with disease. It will not be a part of her for eternity, because she has been given a NEW body! A Redeemed body. A body that is glorified and heavenly. We will recognize her when we join her in Eternity – but it will be her spirit shining out that will ooze Jesus and Jeannette combined. We will recognize fully what we only saw in part here – her faith that transformed her soul and reflected her Savior.
We who are left mourn. We mourn for us and our loss of her sweet and tender spirit, of her wonderful laugh, of her gift of words and art, of her dedication to her children and her love for the hurting and her absolute trust in her precious Jesus.
But we do not mourn for our friend and mother. We REJOICE! She is living in the fullness of the victory purchased on the cross. She has attained the completion of her salvation, begun 30 years earlier.
She has won her race! Praise be to our God and Father; our glorious Savior; our precious Spirit.