“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.”
Psalms 57:1 NLT
I recently attended the funeral of a young man and as I listened to family members share the memories, the joys, the heartaches, and the grief, I sensed their heart cry for God’s mercy. Indeed, in this life, don’t we all cry out.
Life can be hard and we cry out for mercy. We often find ourselves inadequate, we don’t know what to do. We struggle. We fight. We mess up. We mourn. We cry. We fail. We may even give up. But death can be harder still. It reminds us, life is short.
We don’t know which day will be our last. Therefore, we need to live it. Celebrate it. Fill it with what’s important. Scripture tells us in Psalm 90, Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise. Another version says Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!
We also don’t know which day will be the last of someone we love. Therefore, make time for them. Love them. Tell them how much they mean to you. As Scripture tells us in Romans 12, Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Say what’s on your heart now and don’t wait to say it over a casket. Be okay with having hard conversations. Remember, someone may be hard to live with, but they will probably be harder to live without.But whether in life or in death, we do not despair, for this life, and even death, are not the end. Indeed greater things are yet to come. Paul grapples with this very concept, of life, and death, and victory, in 1 Corinthians 15. For just as we are celebrating Christ’s birth during the Christmas season, we also celebrate his resurrection. But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death (verse 20), and Christ… rule(s) until God defeats all enemies and puts them under his feet. The last enemy to be defeated will be death (verses 25-26), so then “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!” “Where, Death, is your victory Where, Death, is your power to hurt?” (verses 54-55). We know one day, He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Therefore, we do not grieve like people who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Rather, we live as those who are sure of the things we hope for… certain of the things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1) and we hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise. (Hebrews 10:23).
Father, thank you for your mercy, that we can look to You for protection and hide beneath the shadow of Your wings, knowing whether in life or in death, we can give thanks to you, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!