By: Shenelle Wallace (May 2011)
I received some news today that the pastor of a mega church passed away in a car accident the night before. I did not know the pastor personally, but I felt it for his family and congregation. I thought of all the lives he touched and said to myself, wow. This great man of God whose life was lived to build up the kingdom and win souls for Christ, God allowed to die. In a car accident. What a way to go.
I’ve never done well with death, in fact, I hate it. I hate dealing with the loss, the sorrow, the pain, anger and hurt, and all the emotions that come with it. I hate that we even have to die at all. But while these thoughts were running through my mind, I remembered the words of Paul in the Bible: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) . Meaning, we as Christians are victorious even in death. We win either way. Living here on earth is a life lived for Christ, so we win. When we die as Christians, heaven awaits us. That place where “eyes have not seen, nor ears heard neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We win.
Death is not something that God planned for us in the beginning. His original plan was that we would live forever. But because of sin, death entered the world (Romans 5:12). In fact death is an enemy and the word of God says that death will be the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Nobody wants to die, and no one wants their loved one to die. But as long as we are in this world, until that great day, death is inevitable. Grieving during the time of death is natural. As humans, that’s what we do. And that’s ok. Even Jesus wept when his friend died (John 11:35). But if we can shift our thinking just for a moment and understand that death is not the end. The Bible says that we have hope, because those who die in Christ will rise again (Thessalonians 4:13).
The pastor that I mentioned earlier was 80 years old when he passed. He lived a long time and according to his bio, a full life. The work he started will continue. So devil does not get the victory. I no longer think thoughts of pity regarding his death. Why? Because for us to live is Christ, and to die is gain.