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Letting go of control

DEATH ISN'T NORMAL

Let’s just call a spade a spade for a moment: death isn’t normal.

Death is a by-product of a sin-soaked world and something that we all must face. But to say that it’s normal would be the farthest thing from the truth.

Each one of us is one heartbeat away from dying. Every one of us is one step away from opening that proverbial door into eternity.

This is our full-on reality: death is all around us. The problem we have – at least, in the West – is that we’ve been living in a relative ignorant bliss with it for the better part of a century. Death, and our inability to control it, scares a lot of people. In order to gain some control over this, we’re creating everything from anti-aging creams to cryogenics and trying to practice the 7 healthy habits to live until you’re 538.6 years old.

But, consider this; at the time of this blog post,[1]there have been…

  • 119,069 seasonal flu deaths this year
  • 411,724 deaths caused by HIV/AIDS this year
  • 1,224,362 deaths caused by smoking this year
  • 2,011,502 deaths caused by cancer this year
  • 2, 382, 324 deaths from hunger
  • And from COVID19 [2]– 35, 019 deaths

(and this is only a small fraction of the amount of deaths worldwide to date)

Just a disclaimer: What I’m not doing here is detracting from the seriousness of the COVID19 pandemic or downplaying the effects of the virus or devaluing the lives of those who are sick and dying from the virus. That’s not what I’m trying to do.

But, for the majority of people in the West, death hasn’t been something we’ve needed to face head on. We all know it exists, tucked away somewhere in the depths of our minds, we all know that we have a date with it. But it’s not something that we (myself included) routinely think about.

In light of the COVID19 pandemic however, we’re being confronted with this reality on a daily basis and, I’m convicted, that the underlying root of our fears and anxieties come down to our inability to have control over it (the virus and death).

For many in the West, we will get our vaccinations, or our flu shots, we’ll get sick and purchase some antibiotics, and, honestly, we probably won’t die from hunger, etc., etc. We’ll do things in life to increase our life expectancy and, in fact, we’ll do these things as seamlessly and naturally as it is for us to breath.

But then there’s the reality of COVID19 (and I’m not fearmongering here): COVID19 doesn’t care if you’re a CEO of a Fortune 500 company; it doesn’t care if you’re 102 years old; it doesn’t care if you’re a newborn or an athlete or a government official. There’s no cure for it, it’s highly contagious and its impacts range from nothing to death. What happens to one person isn’t what happens to another; one person might get a sore throat, and another could end up on ventilation in an ICU.

And we have no control of what happens to us. Zero.

And because we have no control, we automatically think the worst and assume we’re all going to die.

But here’s another reality.

In Revelation 1:18, the Apostle John records Jesus as saying: “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades”

Everyone likes bullet points so let me break this down in some bite-sized chunks:

  1. Jesus died.
  2. Jesus is alive.
  3. Jesus holds the keys of Death and Hades.

In other words, God is in control. He’s in control of death, life and everything in between.

JESUS IS ALIVE FOREVERMORE

Jesus went to the cross willingly to die for the sins of the world.

Jesus conquered the grave and death, rose victoriously and is now alive forevermore.

And because Jesus holds the keys of death and hades, as Nancy Guthrie [3]reminds us, “no one goes through the door of death unless and until he opens that door”

This is a mystery and one that I’m ok not understanding. No humble and honest man (or woman) of God will claim to have all the answers let alone answers pertaining to matters of life and death.

But this is what we are sure of.

  1. Jesus died.
  2. Jesus is alive.
  3. Jesus holds the keys of Death and Hades.

COVID19 doesn’t come as a shock to God or a surprise. There’s not one rogue atom in the entire universe that He’s not aware of or exerting His control over. Same with this virus.

As Christians, we find rest knowing that God has the keys to Death and Hades in His hands. We find rest knowing that our days are numbered and that there’s not one hair on our head that is unaccounted for by God.

We find rest knowing that our lives are securely fastened to Christ. And we find rest knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God; “neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, [not even death nor life]”

And that, my friends, is what I find so comforting during this COVID19 pandemic. Because…I can’t control it, but I know my God is in control and that my life is in His hands. This doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with the reality of COVID19 because I do (I’m a father of three young children). But I know that I can go to Him over and over and over again with my anxieties and I know that over and over and over again He will receive me and reassure me. So, let me try and reassure you:

  1. Jesus died.
  2. Jesus is alive.
  3. Jesus holds the keys of Death and Hades.

Praise God!

 

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[1] https://www.worldometers.info/

[2] https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

[3] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/he-holds-the-keys-to-death/

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