Death is so final.
In a hospice ward, I stood with six adult children at the bedside of their momma. Crowded in the little room were several of their spouses, and a few of their children. Momma’s fight had been long and hard, and the family waited quietly for the end to come.
On another occasion, I stood with the shocked woman in my arms. I had been dispatched by the police department to deliver the devastating news. I didn’t have to tell her. She could read it on my face. Her husband of fifty years was gone. Dead. A moment before she had been a wife and now, she was a widow.
A fatal motorcycle wreck. A massive heart attack. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. One minute, our family member or friend is alive. The next minute they are gone. Dead.
Jesus visited the home of a grieving family. The daddy was an influential leader in the community and had come to Jesus with the urgent request. “He fell at his feet and begged him earnestly, ‘My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she can get well and live’ ” (Mark 5:22–23). As they made their way through the crowded streets, servants came from Jairus’s home to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?” (Mark 5:35). Death had come. Hope was gone.
Why bother? Because hope is not gone! Death is not final. The Evil One “comes only to steal and kill and destroy. (Jesus has) come so that (we) may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10).
Jesus “took the child by the hand and said to her... ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up.’ Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were utterly astounded” (Mark 5:41–42).
Something similar happened in the Old Testament. The son of the widow at Zarephath inexplicably died. The boy “became ill. His illness got worse until he stopped breathing” (1 Kings 17:17). Dead. Lifeless. Hopeless.
No one in recorded history had ever seen the dead brought back to life. It had never happened. Yet, Elijah took the lad in his arms and carried him upstairs. “He cried out to the Lord and said, ‘Lord my God, please let this boy’s life come into him again!’ ... The Lord listened to Elijah, and the boy’s life came into him again, and he lived” (1 Kings 17:21-22).
The poor widow remained downstairs alone. Alone! She was slumped in her chair, sobbing when the boy bounded down the stairs and into his momma’s arms. Imagine the joyful surprise! Hope wasn’t gone. Death wasn’t final.
The Christian doesn’t grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We can be certain that Jesus is “the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in (Jesus), even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in (Jesus) will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26).