“The last enemy that will be abolished is death…For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written,
“DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.”O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?
O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”
I Corinthians 15:26, 53-55
Death is the enemy. Whether that be a physical death or a lack of spiritual awareness, and therefore a spiritual death, death is the enemy. John and I discuss that fact all the time, especially when our marriage is under spiritual attack and we want to find excuses for why we see the other, or our life situations, as the enemy. In the end, though, we always come back to the same conclusion: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:12–13).
As we all know, we live in a fallen world, but as it is said in Romans 6:4, as believers, “we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”.
This “newness” of life is not just in a spiritual sense, as we have power through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling over sin, but also physically-speaking, as Paul later points out in I Corinthians 15:41-43:
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.So also is the resurrection of the dead It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.”
One day, if we know Jesus and abide in Him, we will be made completely whole. I rest in that, even though my soul is weary and I do not feel very “empowered” at this time. On top of that, I drank a bad smoothie Monday night and am still feeling the effects, so I’m not feeling very whole physically, either. Oh well.
I guess those verses have been on my mind here recently because my friend, Staci Miller (Wright), passed away on Sunday morning at the tender age of twenty-five. Staci was born with a heart defect that left her heart vulnerable; when she contracted a virus several weeks ago, it went straight to her heart and left Staci in a coma. Eventually, the family removed life support, after there were consistently no signs of improvement. She left behind a loving husband (Ken) and family who will miss her dearly.
Staci and I met when we were in high school. We were on a traveling ministry team together for a ministry called Teens For Christ. I hadn’t seen much of each other (sadly) in the past few years. Somehow, we didn’t even attend each other’s weddings. We hadn’t exactly grown “apart”. Life had just become busy and calls became less frequent or pretty much non-existent. With her now gone, I reflect back on how much I loved Staci and saw a lot of myself in her. I feel regret for not being as good at staying in touch as I should. I feel peace because I know she is now with Jesus and free of pain. I feel sorrow because I’m a human and, no matter how many theologically-rich things I can tell myself, I still feel the effects of the Fall and miss my friend.
I’ve never had a friend pass before. It’s strange. I spent so many months so long ago contemplating my own mortality, and trying to make arrangements as to not leave my family with the burden, that I never wondered what it would be like to stay here and watch someone else go Home. I’ve decided I don’t like death. I don’t think I was a real “fan” before, but Staci’s passing has hit me hard and I’m really not sure why. Maybe it’s because I often think of how much she loved her husband of 1 1/2 years and how much I love John. I don’t want to be separated from him from one of us passing. I know, though, that the inevitable will happen one day, though, and that exact thing will occur. I also know that I’m most likely the first one to go. I’m not scared of death, no, it’s not that. I am just scared of leaving others behind and knowing they’re feeling the way I do now now that Staci has gone Home to be with Jesus. On a bright note, I am so thankful that Staci and her family all know Jesus. Death would seem so much more permanent and scary without Him.
The world is broken and the Fall is very much still a part of our lives, at least for now. I am thankful that Jesus takes us as we are and does not judge us for our humanity. In fact, He embraced humanity and came and lived among us. More importantly, He chose to die for us. I’m sure Jesus wasn’t a huge fan of dying, either, but He did it so that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17).
Jesus knows more than anyone how much I hate not having it “all together”. It makes me feel small and inadequate, so far from where I am “supposed to be” spiritually-speaking. It makes me feel like a bad wife, like a bad friend, like a bad Christian. It makes me feel dumb, honestly.
Like I learned so long, ago, though, the Christian life it is not about having it all together; it is about knowing the One who does and daily seeking Him.
Especially times like now when I’m discouraged, I hate living in a corruptible body, feeling the effects of Satan trying to steal my joy, having demonic dreams every night and having to consciously fight for the vitality of having a close, Christ-centered marriage. Those things are not going to change, though, just because I do not like them. It is life here, on Earth for one who sees the importance of following Christ whole-heartedly. but not life forever. The only way I’m not going to experience opposition from the enemy is if I don’t care and simply live life on the sidelines, if I take more than I give and care less about furthering the Kingdom both on my own through my marriage. I refuse to do that.
For now, as I said in my last post, I will fight for my joy and cling to His Word. Thankfully, the Full Redemption, as described in Romans 8, will one day come.
Thank you, Jesus.
As the Matthew West song says, [Staci], save a place for me.
Lord, I seek You.