Death, where is thy sting?

My older brother would have been 65 years old today. He died at age 47, cut short by cancer that grew in dark places. I grieved when we lost him, and watched others fall into deep mourning. My mother spoke less afterward. My sister-in-law sank low, and my nephew retreated into the deep places of his soul. In the months afterward, I wept, fretted, and blamed God. How could You let this happen? Living in anger toward God was intolerable. By His grace, I chose to draw closer, and not retreat from Him. That choice saved my spiritual life. Today, I look at life differently. Death is not the end of anyone’s story. I expect to taste death, for a moment. Like my brother, I will die, or more precisely, my body will die. Whereas my brother fought a few hard months, it may take years before my aging body gives out and the Lord calls my spirit to Himself. For the dying Hamlet, “The rest is silence”. I certainly hope Shakespeare knew more than he created in Hamlet. As a Christian, I know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Ugly death will clutch a lifeless body, but cannot have the eternal part of me. When I leave my body, when and however it happens, I will join the ceaseless thundering praise of the Lord who saved me and made the way of escape from death. My brother will be there smiling, next to our mother and father. We will know each other, all healthy and joyful, open and loving. My brother is fully known, as he could not be on earth. He deeply comprehends our father, as we never did in this life. He knows our mother, and finally understands her. We will be free and yet joyfully bonded together.  My family members are not merely waiting for me. They are living as they never lived, loving and being loved as they were made to love, belonging to our eternal family. Death, where is thy sting?

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