The Last Enemy

The Last Enemy May 25, 2015

Drivingthrough Fort Logan National Cemetery last week afterJane Peterson’s interment, my heart was raging inside. I hate Death. He’s arobber and a thug. He pushes us around, breaks our hearts, and destroys so muchof what we love. Death offends me at a level I can’t even articulate.

Every timeI perform a funeral or visit a graveyard, I want to scream at Death, whereverhe might be: “This is so wrong! These are precious human beings you’ve takendown and are reducing to dust. You can’t just walk in here and do this to us!”Headstones and memories, that’s what Death reduces us to. And he doesn’t evencare. It’s wrong. So wrong.

But Godcares. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints,” we readin Psalm 116:15. Tears running down Jesus’ face at Lazarus’s tomb is thepicture that comes to my mind. I’m so grateful for that story. It tells me myreaction isn’t unique to me. God feels it, too.

Some peoplewant to talk about how death is our friend, a natural part of life, a beautifulthing. Our instincts tell us differently. Everything inside us screams thatdeath is wrong. The Bible confirms it. Jesus didn’t just weep at Lazarus’stomb. He was outraged: “When Jesus saw Mary weeping and saw the other peoplewailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he wasdeeply troubled” (Jn 11:33 NLT). Human beings created in the image of Godweren’t meant to end their days this way.

I’mgrateful to know that Death’s day is drawing to an end. Every funeral takes himone step closer to his own banishment. Every graveside service is another tollof the bell. Someday soon, Jesus will raid Death’s dark party, touch all His dust-bunnysaints, and lead them in a victory parade like the world has never seen. Ican’t wait. Guess who gets pushed around this time? Not us. And certainly notJesus! “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26). 

The ApostleJohn tells us how it will go: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes,and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor painanymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4).

How long, OLord? Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.