“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ I Corinthians 15:54-57
I have recently decided that the “stages” of grief are a myth. Or a lie, depending on the mood I’m in. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of sequential order to things – no clear start or finish that would indicate that stages are happening. I think a more accurate picture would be layers of grief. You may peel away one layer, only to find something different and difficult underneath.
A layer that I am grappling with this week is rejection. It seems odd to me that my husband’s sudden illness and death would leave me feeling rejected, but it has. I can’t say that I’m really sure why – perhaps fear has taken on the disguise of rejection. Fear of no one loving me like he did again, fear of failure as a mother, fear of growing old. Yet I know that the name I can assign to what I’m feeling is definitely rejection.
It makes me wonder how the disciples felt after Jesus was crucified. If I am feeling rejection over my husband’s death, how much greater must their feelings of rejection been? They believed that Jesus was the Son of God and suddenly – in a brutal moment when the temple quaked and the sky grew black – He was dead.
Jesus death and resurrection are recorded in back-to-back chapters in the book of Mark. You read about His death at the end of chapter 15, and of the empty tomb at the beginning of 16. But in between those few verses were three days that I can only begin to imagine. The shock and horror, I know too well. The frustration, confusion, questioning and tears must’ve flowed freely. Minutes would creep by; daylight must have seemed like blinding eternity. Hope for sleep was likely fruitless.
But how much more incredible must have been that morning of the third day – when the sting of death was defeated for all time! I envy the disciples in their witness of this amazing event – to see the resurrected Christ in person. It must have been a jaw dropping, mind-blowing moment. And to think how that would strength your faith – to witness such an event! It helps me understand better how the disciples were fearless in the face of death, because they knew first hand death had been defeated.
So while I am still wrestling with my feelings of loss and rejection, I know that this battle I fight is only for the time being. I am struggling with my human nature, because for now Christ’s victory is in the unseen, spiritual realm. But it won’t always be that way. The Bible tells us that we will see the dead in Christ rise. It helps me look forward to the day that we will all be together again, in the new Heaven and Earth.