I get mad a lot. I generally feel it’s justifiable when I get fired up . . . generally.
I’ve been called fiery, excitable, “she’s just a firecracker, isn’t she?” I don’t often get my personal feelings hurt, but I can take up a cause for justice in a split second.
Richard drives me crazy, sometimes. I’ll react to a situation with a great amount of enthusiasm, and he responds, “Ok, calm down.” I don’t feel upset in that moment. I just have a lot of feeling to share . . .
The fact is there is so much to feel about our world. I often get distracted by the heavy weight of brokenness we all carry close to our hearts, often hidden deep inside our hearts.
And, then. There are moments like early Sunday morning on a dark Seabeck, WA highway. When 3 lives were lost. Another tragically changed forever. All before their high school graduation.
Loss is not a secret. You can’t hide that kind of universal wound. Absolutes unite us as finite, wanting beings. Death is so far outside our control. It feels like a betrayal to everything good and true.
And it is.
Death is a betrayal of Life.
Betrayal SHOULD make us angry. Death SHOULD make us scream with tear-filled, life-yearning breath that “THIS IS NOT RIGHT.”
We lament the loss of a young one gone too soon. We romanticize the death of an elderly loved one saying, “She lived a long life. She got to do all God had planned for her,” or “At least he is no longer in pain.”
We accept it. We accept death.
That, I believe, is the problem.
Death is the antithesis of Life. I believe in the God of Life. I believe in a God who is Life.
We only accept death because we feel, in that moment, that life has been defeated. Like a candle flame being snuffed out, we truly believe that life is so fragile it can be gone in a moment.
In a way, that’s true. Our lives are fragile, precious, so easily lost.
But LIFE, the source of all things with breath and growth and freedom is not fragile. LIFE is powerful and true. LIFE is always stronger than death.
We live in a reality that is dependent on what we see and feel. We react as if death is absolute – the end – because we are finite.
The only hope for a finite existence is an INFINITE CREATOR.
I trust my life to this CREATOR-REDEEMER God that speaks into nothingness to bring life. The nothingness of dust to create an intricate being capable of untold impact. The nothingness of my tragic brokenness to create a new purpose in a purposeless life. The nothingness we feel in loss to create a reason to hope. Death, is just a symptom. It’s a reaction to sin and brokenness.
Death is the outcry of all creation that we desperately need a Savior.
There is a story about Jesus I love. His friend is sick and he’s asked to go and heal him. He makes plans to go, but hangs out where he is a few more days. When he is getting ready to leave, he says something that I believe speaks clearly about the character and intentions of my Jesus. We read later that Jesus knew his friend had already died. At that moment, He knew that his friend had stopped breathing and was being buried. He knew that Lazarus’ sisters were in mourning. He knew that the community was rallying around this family experiencing deep and true loss. Knowing all of that, here is what he says:
“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” (John 11:11)
But, I am going there to WAKE. HIM. UP.
This is our God. The God who makes dead things alive.
God does not fear death, because He defeated it in the death and resurrection of Christ. Death is just sleep to Him.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. (John 11:25)
Life wins, because Jesus is coming back to wake us up. He wakes us from the sleep of sin and brokenness in our hearts as a picture of what He will do for all creation. Just like snuffing out a candle does not mean that fire does not exist, the existence of death does not mean that life is gone. LIFE cannot be defeated by death.
I choose to trust in the Creator, even when what I’m faced with is students mourning the loss of their friends and parents burying their children at a time that their lives should just be beginning. I choose to accept LIFE, even while staring death in the face.
And, I’m mad.
You can read the story of Jesus and Lazarus here, if you want to.