The Sting of Death
“In a moment, in the twinkling of any eye… death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”. I Corinthians 15:52, 54-55
We all have verses that are especially close to our hearts. I really hold tightly to those God-breathed words that remind me this isn’t all there is…that hope is real…that those of us who believe will ultimately experience true victory.
Paul’s words in Corinthians remind me that death will be swallowed up in defeat. But right now, on this hard earth, death most certainly has a sting. In fact, for me it has had the kind of sting that leaves a permanent scar- not the pricking sting of a tiny bee but the blistering whelps left after surviving an attack from an angry swarm.
Because I’m human, death stings. Because I’m human, I sometimes let the pain of what has happened temporarily overwhelm. Because I’m human, I have to really work hard to focus on the eternal.
The beauty of my pervading humanness is Jesus had the same emotions I experience. He wept after his friend died. Some say, in addition to grieving that loss, he also wept because he knew he was about to bring his friend out of paradise.
The dichotomy of death is very real- it stings us like nothing else can, but we know that there is more to the story. Death is not the end. Ultimately, the sting of death will disappear when, as Paul says earlier in I Corinthians 15, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” I for one cannot wait to see that moment- when death realizes that it has no hold over us. No sadness…no fear…no dread. Just Jesus.
“Then the saying will come true: Death swallowed by triumphant life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?” I Corinthians 15 (Message translation)