I have taken part in a number of funerals through the years. Young and old, Christians and nonChristians, those I knew well and those I didn’t know at all, family members, friends, and the dearest friend to me in life. I am no expert but experience has taught me one thing for certain– death hurts.
Bildad referenced the pain of death when he called it “the king of terrors” in Job 18:14, and Job himself spoke of “terrors of the shadow of death” in Job 18:24. The Psalmist spoke of the pains of death and the distress of the grave (Ps. 116:3). As anyone who has experienced loss would affirm, death brings a very unique kind of pain. The tears, loneliness, fear, and feelings of emptiness, are just a few of the challenges that come along with it. No wonder Paul said that death is the last enemy (1 Cor. 15:26).
Though the pain of death can be paralyzing, we cannot allow it to overwhelm us forever. Grief is a vehicle, not a destination. How, then, can we channel that hurt in a positive direction, to better us in the service of God? A few years ago, as I contemplated this question, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 came to mind and the connection that is made between sin and death. Death is a reality in the world because sin is a reality in the world (Rom. 5:12). All of the pain and suffering we experience in life has a direct link to the existence of sin and all of the destruction it causes. But pain can be a helpful reminder. The pain of death should push us to hate sin, so much more. Were it not for sin, we would not experience the agony of losing someone we love dearly. Thus, if a Christian finds themselves dabbling with sin, or feeling apathetic toward it in any way at all, they should stop and remember the hurt of losing a loved one.
Solomon said, “Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart” (Ecc. 7:2). Let the pain of death increase your hatred of sin and carnality, and push you closer to what is good and heavenly (cf. Rom. 12:9).
“Death is not a friend to be embraced, it’s an enemy to be overcome” – Don Walker