There is no better day than Good Friday to discuss the reality of death and resurrection. In today’s post, Tonia challenges us not to ignore it, but to embrace the hope we have as Christians because of God’s promises of heaven.
The Reality of Death and Resurrection
by Tonia Gütting
As part of the military community, perhaps we are more aware of the reality of death than most.
We are regularly reminded of the possibility of untimely, unexpected deaths for which we usually cannot be present. The black dress hangs ready in the closet. The ring of the phone or the doorbell sparks role-playing scenarios: ‘if something happens to him, I will…’ And we get further chance to practice these imaginative stories as we sadly watch friends live it.
Still, we mostly ignore it successfully until it shakes our world directly again.
As I was preparing this devotional, my brother texted that my mother was being taken away in an ambulance, her heart racing. Just a few days before, I had spent hours in another ER with my husband, his chest wrenched in pain, his face pale and twisted. Both proved to not be life threatening, but still, harbingers of times to come for all of us.
In recent months, our bubble of denial has been popped again and that awareness has gone on super radar as the entire world struggles with an accelerated rate of lonely deaths. “No one should die alone,” my friend choked while telling of the anguish of his mother failing, fading in the nursing home with him restricted to standing outside the window.
And yet, we do. We have to. Despite all the efforts of pharaohs and emperors of the past trying to bring whole armies with them, death is still a solitary journey. Ultimately, we’re all infected with a deadly disease—we will all die. And we will all die alone.
But we prefer to live in our denial bubble. We would rather believe Satan’s ancient lie, “Surely you won’t die.”
When we do face reality, somehow in our soul we know that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. We weren’t created for death, for separation. We know there has to be something more. Our hearts long for the resurrection. Our greatest stories seek it, from Sleeping Beauty’s kiss to Captain America’s waking from an icy tomb. We need the hope of this ultimate rising up.
I’ve spent a little time in Alaskan Native villages. The harsh climate, dangerous lifestyle, and the curses of suicide and alcoholism have created a culture much more attune to death. Our brothers and sisters there have to face the reality, and hold to the hope of the resurrection. Their favorite hymn sung at most gatherings, “In The Sweet By And By,” floats over the frozen tundra and echoes in their churches. “There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar. For the Father waits over the way, to prepare us a dwelling place there.”
Our story doesn’t end at the cross. We are grateful for Jesus’ death. We are overwhelmed by His resurrection. And we can live joyfully in full confidence that there is more—so very much more. We can face the reality of death with the reality of life everlasting.
To get more of that joyful confidence, focus on what eternity with God will be like. Research it. Meditate on it. Imagine it.
According to Scripture, in heaven we will have:
*righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13
*our treasures. Matthew 6:20
*true life. 2 Corinthians 5:4
*our spiritual blessings. Ephesians 1:3
*safety. 2 Timothy 4:18
*unsurpassed beauty. Revelation 4:3
*our loved ones who followed Jesus. Revelation 20:11-12
*no hunger, thirst or tears. Revelation 7:16-17
*Jesus. Luke 24:51
*the presence of God Himself. Revelation 7:15
Oh how we all need this hope! Let’s live like we are going to heaven and bring all the people we can with us. I invite you to spend some time meditating on heaven. Write, draw, or create what it might be like. Sing to the Lord about it! Look for glimpses of His glory and beauty today. Then, comment below on what you are looking forward to in eternity! See where a conversation with your family or friends leads when you ask, “What do you think heaven will be like?”
Lord, God of life now and eternal life to come, thank you for the hope of resurrection—the ultimate victory over death! You alone have that power, and you use it for us. We are overwhelmed by your love. Help us to live with that joyful hope. Amen.
We pray God will bless you mightily as you meditate on the reality of death and resurrection and ponder the promises Jesus death and resurrection made possible for you! Easter blessings!
For more on facing the reality of death as a military woman, visit this article on ways to overcome fear during a deployment.