I’ve been dealing with death a lot over the past two weeks. And on two different ends—with a person nearing 60 and a newborn just hours old. Though it comes with the territory of pastoring, seeing it before your eyes with people you’ve come to love is always heart-wrenching.
So when God laid this verse on me over the weekend in my daily reading, well, it was humbling, counter-intuitive, inspiring, and numbing, all at the same time. Why? Because when we think of dying, especially the process of it, death becomes to us that black shadow that eventually swallows our life. But Paul actually said it was the opposite! Really? Look at this verse:
“For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:4)
Wow! Did you see that? From God’s perspective, our dying bodies are being swallowed up by his life! Yes, for the believer, death is actually the event when what is mortal is actually being swallowed up by what is eternal. In other words, eternal life is actually taking over temporal life. We’re truly moving from being barely clothed to fully clothed. From gradually dying to eternally living. From groaning to glory. Could it actually be that God’s life comes to us in its fullest when our life ends in its frailty and finality?
I admit this is mind-boggling. I hardly have the capacity or emotion to think of dying like the Scriptures describe it here. Yet, I stare at the wonderful, God-inspired words in this verse and melt with awe at what God is actually doing in that most dreaded moment of our last breath: He is swallowing our death with his life. That blows me away!
May you be blown away as well as you realize you’re not getting one step closer to your death … you’re moving one step nearer to God’s life.