On Saturday, I attended the funeral of my Uncle Bud. Bud, a former marine, was honored at the end of the service with a 21 gun salute—right there in the church yard. It was very powerful.
But, as the aura of the service wore off, and people were congregating in little groups reminiscing, I couldn’t help but think, Death is wrong. It just is. Everything about it feels wrong.
It feels wrong to see a strapping young soldier turn into an old sick man.
It feels wrong when families grow smaller and siblings are taken from one another.
It feels wrong when good times are replaced by good memories.
It feels wrong when the people we love the most are no longer by our side.
It feels wrong because it is wrong. Death is not what God originally intended when he created this world. Death is something we brought upon ourselves by choosing to disobey God’s directions. In the Garden of Eden, God said to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3),“But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden,… You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.” There were probably thousands of trees with fruit they could eat, but we know what happened next; the serpent (who was Satan) convinced them that God was not worthy of obedience, and they ate that which doomed us all to death. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death”, so death is what we all get “paid” for sinning. I don’t like this deadly salary.
I wish that Adam and Eve had been more trusting of the God whom they walked with in the Garden. I wish that Satan hadn’t convinced them to disobey. Genesis 2 talks also about a Tree of Life in the Garden. I believe it was God’s plan to allow them to eat of that if they had obeyed the only command he gave to them. Maybe this Tree of Life contained fruit that would have allowed them to live forever—and to never leave those they loved. But…it didn’t happen that way, and now we die.
I think that’s why death feels so wrong—because it could have been different, and now it’s not. It could have been perfect except for our imperfect choices. Not only did this choice of our first parents usher in death, it spiritually separated us from our Creator and Father, God, and exiled us from His presence eternally.
This exile means we can’t be with Him when we die—we can’t live in Heaven with Him---UNLESS we understand our condition; like Adam and Eve, we are sinners. Like Adam and Eve, we need to be rescued. Like Adam and Eve, we will die apart from God—apart from Peace. Once we understand where we stand, and that we too, are deserving of this death, we can admit it and ask to be forgiven. And God will do it—through Jesus—the Author of Life and the Sacrifice that our sins required. It seems too easy when compared to our huge offense.
…and that’s another post for tomorrow.
Death still feels very wrong to me, but now the fear is removed. Because I know that Perfect Eternity lies on the other side.
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.