Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Death is Swallowed Up in Victory

My friend's dad died over the weekend after a difficult battle with cancer. The visitation and funeral were yesterday.

When I walked into the funeral home, people were everywhere. Groups of three or four people stood around talking and smiling. There was peace on the faces before me, not sorrow. 

At first, I thought I was in the wrong place. This was a funeral? It seemed too upbeat. I ventured a little further inside, saw my friend across the room, and realized what was different about this particular funeral. 

Peace and joy had filled the room. 

Every family member to whom I spoke said the same thing. "He's so much better off now." 

He hadn't lived a perfect life, but he had met Jesus and that meeting changed his life. And his eternity.

What I saw before me was the victory of Jesus, and a verse came to mind.

"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:55 nasb

I read this passage in 1 Corinthians again today, and found it to be so encouraging that I'm reproducing it here. It's a reminder that the life we have in Christ is more than this broken, hurting world can give. 

We have an eternity with Jesus that is worth everything we suffer, everything we lose, everything we give up for Him. 

He is worth it.

"Behold, I tell you a mystery; 
we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trumpet;

for the trumpet will sound,
and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

For this perishable must put on the imperishable,
and this mortal must put on immortality.

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."

Therefore, my beloved brethren, 
be steadfast,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15: 51-54, 58 nasb

When my time comes, and it will, I pray that those who remain behind will know, without a doubt, that my death is swallowed up in victory. Because it will be.

There is nothing more important in this world, and the next, than this one thing: Loving Jesus. In the end, He's all that matters, and He is worth it.

One day, that trumpet will sound for each of us, and we will respond. Let's be ready. 

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