Close your eyes, imagine the world of King Solomon, he’s sitting by his window looking out over the fields in the distance, musing about life, about time, about the crops that are planted and harvested, the seasons, the births and the deaths, the joy and the pain, the tears and the laughter and he takes quill and ink and places them on parchment for people like us to read thousands of years later. His musings are so open and honest as he ponders life, the beauty and the pain of it all and the futility and fragility of it. I have been drawn to this book lately as I look back at the year that was 2020 and now in the darkness that permeates 2021’s winter. We have seen so much pain and suffering, we have experienced separation, loneliness, heart ache, loss, hopelessness, grief, fear, anxiety, and we have stood by our own windows wondering when the world will once again return to some kind of normal. We have sat on the couch and hoped in vain for a news broadcast without the word COVID in it, without a daily case count or death count, without something new to be afraid of. It is all so futile.
We have become so afraid and yet what surprises me is that death is not something we need to fear as believers. I remember when Joshua was heading into one of his open-heart surgeries, a few days before the big day I was doing laundry and he was ‘helping’ me which was actually more like him unfolding things as he took them from my hands and put them in the basket. At one point he stopped and looked up at me and asked me “Am I going to die Mommy?” and like a sucker punch I was left totally winded by that question. Am I going to die? The question hung in the air as I folded another pair of pants searching for an answer and finally, I sat down and answered “one day, yes. No one knows when we will die.”, the conversation continued, we talked about it off and on for a few days but the reality of it is that all I remember is that one night I was sitting on his bed and we talked about death, he had a million questions over those few days but that night as I sat there with him, I said to him that should he die in the operating room that his death would be a beautiful moment for him. I said, ‘it will be like falling asleep, and when you wake up you will be in the arms of Jesus, safe, loved, perfectly healthy, a beautifully perfect heart beating in your chest, and in the blink of an eye Mommy and Daddy will be with you and Jesus too.’
I won’t lie to you and say that was an easy few days of conversations and questions, talking about death with your child when he’s facing a serious health crisis is not supposed to be fun. I will tell you that I see death so differently now. God removed the fear of death when he sent his son to die for us; that moment on the cross when Jesus took his last breath, when the veil was torn, he gave us hope, he took the sting of death, he gave us a beautiful future to look forward too, so that we don’t need to fear death. We are not living in our home, but when we die, we are going home and that is a sweet thing, a beautiful thing.
As believers we have been given the gift of being able to face this crisis with a sense of purpose, we can love our neighbours, love our enemies, face fear and sleep at peace because it’s already been done, the battle was won that day on the cross some 2000 years ago so that we can face times like this with joy and hope. If ever there was a time to celebrate that love and hope, that victory over death; it is right now, in this current global climate.