May 19, 2017
Last Friday, we hosted two funerals.
One was for a baby boy, the other was for a man who had been hit by a car. Both were tragic. Both Don and Madden were names on the top of my prayer list each morning for many days, praying for healing, for miracles, for life.
But they did not recover. They died.
In most funerals, there are many verses of scripture read. Some remind us of the God who hears our prayers and comforts us in our sadness. Some point us toward the promises of Jesus--that through him, we might have life eternal that extends well beyond what we know of life on earth. We recall that in God's house there are many rooms, and Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.
But on days like last Friday, the verses that reverberate through my soul are from 1 Corinthians 15, "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?”
I've read that verse through tears, acknowledging that in funeral services like those last week, it feels like death has won. When you've heard, "There is nothing more we can do" or "I don't think he's going to survive this," we feel defeated. Life hasn't won. At least not this time. Death does sting.
So reading the words from 1 Corinthians 15 in a funeral service requires a kind of boldness. It names and claims a promise that seems improbable in that very moment. It requires faith that Jesus really did defeat death through his life, death, and resurrection. It requires trust that the grave could not hold him and it will not hold us. It points us to the hope that we cannot see but we can declare--death, you're finished.
We don't get to see our loved ones clothed with the imperishable and immortality, but we can trust that it is so.
And while the sadness remains, and the loss is very real, we can claim with confidence that our prayers for healing and wholeness have been answered in the scope of eternity.
And we can say, "it is well, it is well with my soul."
Thanks be to God.