We are a people who like to plan for everything. We plan our lives and try to plan those of our children.
What kind of work will we do?
Where will we educate our children?
When will they date and who will they marry?
The keeper of the house plans the affairs of home life. When company is coming, things really tend to be planned. Is there anything wrong with planning? I think not. Some would choose to quote Jesus when He encourages His followers to "take no thought for the morrow." However, if we are going to engage in a Scripture quoting contest, one might easily pull out His example, "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?" (Luke 14:28 NASB) Jesus was not one who failed to think of the future, he only warns of anxiety and worry.
What does all this have to do with death?
Death is an integral part of our future as well as an event for which a Christian plans — not with anxiety, but with expectation. Every time I address this subject, the reaction seems to be, "Sure, it is alright for you to say that, but you are not dying." Of course I am! We are all dying!
I would not in any way make light of the event we call death. It is surrounded with trauma and often with pain. It is not generally thought to be a happy time. Yet, what is it that makes death so difficult?
For me, the separation from those I love that death brings makes it difficult. Separation is always stressful. Even when it is for a brief holiday, we still miss those we leave behind. We think about the things we do and see and wish we could share them with our loved ones. I am a great lover of sunsets, but I never see a really beautiful one that I do not wish for someone I love to share it with me.
Resurrection! This is the Christian word for reunion! It is the true day of homecoming. Our hymns are filled with that hope. Our lonely spirits are comforted by that anticipated joy.
Resurrection! The day when the trip is really over and we are home. Body and spirit united and loved ones together for eternity — what a wonderful thought! In all of this there is something we tend to miss. That miss raises our fear of the future. Resurrection is a crowning glory in the hope of earthly man, but without death — there is no resurrection! Our earthly bodies cannot inhabit the timelessness of our future home with God. (1 Corinthians 15:35-58) Death, resurrection and reunion are a package. They all come together. "O death, where is thy sting?" It is taken away by the redemptive might of God's salvation and becomes a time of anticipation through the hope eternity brings.