This Coronavirus Pandemic has brought the fear of dying to the forefront for so many! Death is scary for most, terrifying for some, but longed for by others! Why do we all have such differing and even conflicting views of death? And what is God’s perspective?
To start with, God hates death and values death! Psalm 116: 15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” He values it for those of us who will spend eternity with Him. But He hates what death has done to his marvelous creation.
With sin came death and suffering. Death is the penalty of sin, but Christ took that penalty for us that we might be restored to eternal life. This required suffering and death for the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:16). Jesus conquered death through his resurrection! We conquer death by trusting that finished work on the cross and trusting Christ as Savior!
Death for the unbeliever is Hell, eternal punishment. Death for the believer is freedom, passing from this temporal body of death to our eternal state with a glorified body and no more death or suffering. Death for the believer, then, is the gateway into eternity and eternal life with no more pain, no more suffering, no more death. We will be with God forevermore. For the unbeliever, it means eternal separation from God, along with God’s love, God’s patience, God’s holiness, and all that is good that flows from God’s presence.
So why are we afraid of death, or afraid of the Coronavirus?
For most of us, I think we are afraid of suffering. Yet suffering is a part of the Christian life (2Tim 2:12, 1Pet 5:10. Lk 14:27). God promises to comfort us (Isa 43:2) and we are to comfort others with his comfort (2 Cor 1:3-4). God promises to deliver us, but in His time, not necessarily ours (Ps 34:19).
We learn from our trials and troubles because they make us stronger (Rom 5:3-4) and more like Christ in obedience to the Word of God (Jas 1:2-4, Ps 119:71). He has a glorious plan to deliver us eternally (Rom 8:18, Rev 21:4). So why would we fear death?
Though in our flesh we fear suffering, instead we must let TRUTH flush out the lies that lead us into anxiety! What are the lies? “I can’t handle this – it’s too much!” or “It’s not fair!” Job experienced these anxieties, yet came to the truth that God was trustworthy (Job 13:15).
We think suffering will destroy us, but God says it will make us like pure gold refined in the fire of suffering, revealing Christ in us (1Pet 1:6-7).
Whether that trial is physical sickness, various troubles, or even death, God wants to use it for our good and for His glory (Rom 8:28-29). He is working both in us and through us to accomplish eternal good. Death has lost its sting (1Cor 15:54-55)! Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1Cor 15:58).
Christ arose from death in victory, and we will celebrate that soon in our Easter services across this land. I plan to let truth rise above my anxieties connected with the Coronavirus because whether I live or die, my aim is to please my Lord (2Cor 5:9)!
If I suffer, it will be to accomplish God’s good purposes in me. That is my hope and joy in this life! Nothing, not even a virus, can separate me from the Love of God (Rom 8:38-39)!
Great article, Sherry. Thanks for writing/sharing. Safe travels back from India.