Grief is traveling through a series of horrid emotions, brought about by situations, places, and people that were once shared with the Loved. When tragedy strikes it's damaging blow, what follows is circumstance after seemingly never-ending circumstance that the Bereaved must trudge through, with the utterly devastating reality of the absence of the Loved.
July 23rd was one of those nights for this Bereaved. I attended a concert with my friends, yet not one of them knew that the last time I entered this particular arena was with the Loved. My friends and I had come to worship the Lord. The Loved and I had come to worship the Lord only 2.5 years earlier.
Two and a half years ago I was filled with unquenchable happiness because the Loved and I were blissfully content. On July 23rd, I was not filled with happiness.
As the songs played one after the other, I reminisced, in my own mind, how several of them had been given to me to comfort me (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) in my 2 years of mourning. Songs like Lauren Daigle's @lauren_daigle , Trust in You.
I have wondered many times in the past two years, what is there if there is not happiness?
The musicians begin to sing, "Death, where is your sting?
Your power is as dead as my sin."
And I think, "Death, where is your sting?" It's such a confounding question. One that on the surface could be scoffed at and simply dismissed as rubbish.
The Bereaved carries the suffocating weight of death's tolls. The Bereaved knows the stench of death's breath, as it has haunts day and night. The Bereaved knows death more intimately than one would ever have wished. The sting of death breaks the heart of the Bereaved and leaves it unhealed and longing for "just one more conversation" with the Loved, or "just one more touch" from the Loved.
On the surface this Bereaved would say that death unequivocally has a sting. But then I begin to dig deeper into this Truth out of the pages of God's very Own Word.
"'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 AMP
If isolated, these verses can argue the presence of a sting in and through death to those that have lived in the aftermath of death's storm. The Bereaved is tempted to call bluff on the implied Truth that death has no sting. But, if we back up to the context of this resolution in Scripture, clarity is served. Rewind with me to verse 50.
"Now I say this, believers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit nor be part of the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (mortal) inherit the imperishable (immortal). Listen very carefully, I tell you a mystery [a secret truth decreed by God and previously hidden, but now revealed]; we will not all sleep [in death], but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at [the sound of] the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [who believed in Christ] will be raised imperishable, and we will be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]. For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us that is capable of dying] must put on immortality [which is freedom from death]. And when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says, 'Death is swallowed up in victory (vanquished forever).'" 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 AMP
Upon digging deeper, I am filled with something greater than happiness. I am filled with the joy that comes from hope in Jesus Christ. Joy supersedes happiness because you can have joy in the midst of trials and temptations. Happiness is a fleeting and fickle thing. Joy is not.
So, I can retain my joy in the hope of Christ and HIS Magnificent victory over eternal death no matter my circumstances.
As I write these very words, tears are streaming down my cheeks. I am tired as a mama. My heart aches for the Loved.
Wives celebrating their husbands as Daddies, breaks my heart for my own children who no longer have their precious Daddies' influence. Couples celebrating anniversary after anniversary, only serves to remind me that I am hopeless on that account.
Yet God's Word brings the Truth of the ultimate powerlessness of death in the life of the saved. The Truth that though it may hurt now, ultimately death has no sting eternally for the Believer. If I would but look up once more, if I would but allow HIM to gently lift my weary head, I can retain a joy that can never be taken away because it is rooted in eternal Truths that supersede temporary pain.
The Truth is that I will see my Loved again. The Truth is that I will spend eternity with him and so many other Saints that I have loved. The Truth is that this horrific pain that seems intolerable will only last a short while. The Truth is that this life is but a vapor and I will be done. The Truth is that I can maintain a life of joy because I am found in the One who conquered death itself. The Truth that death itself is swallowed up in the victory of Redemption done on an old rugged cross. The Truth that the Bereaved and the Loved have been bought back from the domain of darkness.
And with this new perspective I say, "Death, where is your sting?"