The Consequence Of Death
It tolls for thee." John Donne, 1623
As Donne rightly reminds us, he echoes the scripture that says, "it is appointed unto men once to die." Just recently I watched a program where the heroine reflected, "for those who believe in the resurrection, death is of no consequence." Of course, that is not to say that death has no consequences. For there are plenty of consequences, as experience will tell.
Death brings sorrow, grief, heartache, and loneliness to name a few. Death can cause wars and revolutions, sacrifice and heroism. Death creates vacuums and silence, stillness and contemplation. For anyone who has lost a loved one, the empty chair is a constant reminder of the loss, so deeply felt, where at any given moment the heart skips a beat, as if to say, "I am not complete"
Yet, it is true, that for those who believe in the resurrection, death is of no consequence. Death is an enemy whose teeth have been pulled. The sting of death has been swallowed in the resurrection of Jesus, and his resurrection provides hope for all who believe. Death brings grief, but grief does not swallow hope! As Christians we grieve, but we do not despair.
This past week I attended a funeral of a friend, he was a cardiologist. Over a thousand people came to pay tribute to this man's life. Many who came were patients whose lives have been extended because of his expertise. Those who stood and gave testimony emphasized his love of family and his faith in Jesus.
In the weeks before his death he had expressed his concern, not for himself, but for his family. He knew that his death would have consequences for those he left behind. For himself he did not fear, because be believed in the resurrection, and death was of no consequence. And when he slipped from this life to the next, he left his family with a smile, an expression of peace and hope, an assurance that he was now resting in the presence of his savior.
We must, at some point, face the inevitability of death. And unless The Lord returns soon, we will all lie down and breathe one last time. We hope it will be in our old age, but that is not guaranteed. What is our guarantee is the Spirit of God, who is our deposit, until the coming of Christ. Standing on the assurance of Jesus' death and resurrection, all fear is driven away, and all hope is restored. For those who believe in the resurrection, death is of no consequence! I'm just saying...