Death isn’t theoretical for me. It isn’t the thing that “might happen one day…” A possible reality off in the mists of the future. It is in my bed. On my pillow. Everyday.
The man I lived with every day for nearly 23 years- skin to skin and heart to heart and dream to dream with- is gone. He literally ran straight forward, smack dab into death. And life. All in a few moments on a wooded path.
So, death and I stare each other down every day. I don’t have a choice. There is no avoidance technique big enough to hide it. John has died.
And, every morning, I accept it. Again. Do you want to know the real reason I wake up in our empty bed and face death and find peace?
It isn’t a theory. or an idea. or a comforting religious belief.
It isn’t a technique or a mantra or a transforming app.
It is a person. His name is Jesus Christ. He did for John and for me what no one in all of history has ever done: Jesus said he would face death for us and defeat it. No other person has ever made that claim and lived to tell about it.
Jesus did, and so He has earned my wholehearted faith and trust and confident hope because He died and He lives.
“Jesus who rescued us from certain doom”1 Thessalonians 1:10 (MSG)
I don’t worry and wonder, “Was John good enough? Did he live a life that earned him eternity?” These questions don’t plague me.
Jesus earned eternity for John. and for me. and for our kids. and for you. He lived the perfect life none of us could ever accomplish, and He let his perfect life be sacrificed for our sake.
He didn’t die on the cross for himself. He died on the cross for us. His death is a gift that He has given to each of us. His life makes us part of God’s family, and like all children, we look up to our Father and want to be like Him. John lived wanting to please His Heavenly Father.
When I wake up in the morning, death is real but its hold is temporary. What I am most aware of is my settled peace and confidence that Jesus is real. His Spirit is with me, and I am reassured that John is safe.
John and I are now living both sides of faith in Christ. Lives that neither of us had ever experienced before March 8. We have both experienced death’s spectrum: on earth and in heaven.
We will have a lot to talk about one day. I hope we get to. Or maybe God’s eternal plan will be so amazing we won’t want to rehash all that has happened. I can only speculate. and wonder. and dream.
We are both living; sustained by Christ’s power and presence.
All I know is what four years have tried and tested in my life: I have faced death and Jesus Christ met me on that night and He hasn’t let me go. His hope and presence and peace and strength and tenderness and reassurance woo me every morning.
Every day is Easter.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” Hebrews 6:19