Better off dead. This is a phrase that doesn’t usually lend to a lot of optimistic thought or feeling. It seems to be used in reference to how bad things are going to get while you are alive. We hear it in movies and other story based media. For the world, it seems to place hope into not being able to feel.
But what about those of us who believe in God? What about those of us who believe that there is a life that continues after we exit our current context? We talk about that kind of hope, yet too often, perhaps we live with a lottery type of hope as opposed to a hero coming to save us because we have already watched the movie.
I want to share with you what I have been thinking. I also want to share with you the context.
One year ago today, my father passed away. He was a man of faith. He was my hero. He is missed. So, to be blunt, I’m looking death in the eye right now as I recall this one year Anniversary of his physical death.
In the church, we talk about a scripture in the Bible, that says death has lost its sting (1 Cor. 15:55-57). I believe it, but this past year I studied it not on an academic level, but face to face.
As I would drive in my car , I would reflect on my loss and how if in fact, death has lost its sting, why did it still feel like I was stung. I wanted to experience the peace we see in scripture, yet perhaps, I did not understand this issue as personally as I was could, potentially on paper.
At one point, I ran across a song by a Christian band*. In it, they pronounced something that caught me by surprise. They claimed that death was on our side. What a bold statement. It intrigued me. How could death be on my side when it seemingly took my father away.
As I contemplated this strange claim, I became more and more at peace with it. I seemed to move from a place of claiming hope that my father was no longer in pain, to joyfully saying that he was dancing against his will in heaven. He didn’t like to dance here. Lol.
Hope kept building, and my healing kept happening. But just a few days ago, I perhaps came to the greatest breakthrough on this journey that I could. A breakthrough, that would change my perspective not only on death, but on the intimacy of God and how he speaks to and through me.
I was contemplating my dad, once again while driving, when I queried my peace. For I felt greater peace than you might suppose, greater then perhaps the world would support. When I blurted something out, not from me but from my heavenly father to me.
“Well it’s not like he’s dead! “Wait! What did I just say? I just claimed that he wasn’t dead, I claimed a reversal of what my perspective and the “science” had been. I laughed while considering the foolishness of the statement yet it aligns so well with the wisdom of scripture.
You see, this is truly the hope we have in Christ. When we die, we don’t die. He only kills us once, and it’s when we meet Him and He brings us into his eternal family. When we die to our self, it is our only death. For in Him, we are alive and we will never cease to be that way.
What a different perspective. I did not see it coming.
So are we better off dead? Perhaps physically dead, some might agree. But I’m going to suggest, that as Christians, we are better off to kill our old nature and be dead to it, so that we can become alive in Christ , and never die again. For even after our physical heart stops beating, it’s not like we’re dead.
*Demon Hunter, “on our side”.