7 Nov 2006

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Is it better to be dying or to be dead? This question dominated my thoughts today as i sat at the funeral of a man i met only a week ago. I went with my roommate marta to Andrzej's home last week to help his wife and look after their little girls. Andrzej had been fighting a long battle with brain cancer. By the time i met him this once dynamic and brilliant logistics professor could barely speak.

As i played with his little girls and folded laundry in his office i was broken and overwhelmed by the reality that Andrzej was dying. The books that lined his study gave me a glimpse into his walk with Christ, his academic achievements and seemed to tell me the story of his life. As i stood their i cried. And the Lord reminded me that to the grave we all return. I left that day not knowing how long the suffering would go on.

Friday we got the news that Andrzej had died. It was a sad day. But just like Paul said that we would prefer to be away from the body and at HOME with the Lord... part of me breathed a sigh of relief for Andrezj, that he is now home, That he no longer has to suffer.

His funeral was a beautiful celebration. Friends gave testimony of who Andrzej was and how he lived. Bibles were given out to the 500 people that attended, emphasizing Andrzej's love for God's word and hope in God and faith in Christ. As they carried out the coffin, containing only and early shell- i was reminded that Christ has overcome death and triumphed over the grave. In my inner being I confronted Satan... "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" And determined that it is indeed better to be dead, than to be dying.