The Sting Removed, the Burden Carried

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Walking through the reality of death forces us to ask ourselves some hard questions. In light of eternity, how are we living?

“Dad didn’t wake up,” My mom whispered through tears over the phone as I stood in the grocery store parking lot loading my car. Time stopped. As the wave of grief crashed down on me, I felt unable to breathe.

How could this be possible? 

Losing my dad is, by far, the toughest trial I’ve faced. I have walked through some valleys, but death… death cuts deeper than them all. I knew this time would come; why was the pain so relentless? Everybody dies. Why was the crushing weight of the wrongness of it so unrelenting? 

Grief is a strange animal -- all will be fine, and then it collides into me, reminding me that it will never stray too far, and it continuously echoes the cost of sin. There is an element of grief that resonates on a strictly spiritual level. Only by walking through the trenches of loss did I truly realize the anguish of what sin had caused and the necessity of the Cross.

Over the next few months, God began speaking truths to my heart that I had only known on a cognitive level. Death is necessary to break the effects of the fall and as counterintuitive as it was, I needed to be thankful for it. I’m still not there yet, but I know it’s true. Without death, we would be hopelessly stuck on a treadmill of life with our imperfection (due to sin) always within us. Eternally drifting in pure agony.

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection have become more magnified to me than I could possibly articulate. His love for us is so great, and His hatred for sin even greater, that He came to Earth, lived a sinless life and died in our place to save us from the penalty of sin and from the separation of death. As insurmountable as the pain seems, it would be inconceivably worse without the substitutionary death of Christ. Only with that knowledge, can the believer proclaim that death has lost its sting! No more separation. No more struggle. Death is merely a doorway to reality for the child of God. It’s a complete removal of the entrapment of sin and it is an entrance into freedom! 

Thomas Watson once wrote, “We spend our years with sighing; it is a valley of tears; but death is the funeral of all our sorrows.”

Christ knows our every struggle and of the weaknesses that pervade even the most passionate of souls. In my times of gripping grief, I am comforted to know that Jesus wept at the reality of death and at the heinous consequences of sin. How astonishing! 

Jesus wept. (John 11:35 ESV)

The Son of God felt our every emotion during His earthly ministry and really can relate to the trials of this life. He can be trusted with our every need, fear and temptation. Would you count on Him today to bear the load of whatever it is you are carrying? He alone is the One able to handle it. He lovingly beckons us to come to Himself.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:14 ESV)

What a Savior! Even in our lowest moments, He is able to keep us. Sweet sister, look to Him. He has overcome all that is causing you pain. It won’t always be this way. Take heart. Cling to Him.

Jesus said, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 ESV)

Walking through the reality of death has forced me to ask myself some hard questions. In light of eternity, how am I living? To whom am I living? We don’t have to like death and we certainly will never fully embrace it when it ransoms our loved ones, but may it serve as a reminder that this life is gone in a flash. It is my prayer that we live lives to the fullest for the One who took its penalty and gave us sweet victory! 

How are you living? Eternity is at stake.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14 ESV)

By Tiffany Gaines

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