I have learnt, that we can never get familiar with death. When Ravi, one of our board members passed to COVID. It seemed a dream yet so true. Many have followed. In such a time, when deaths’ thong seems familiar, what is our consolation?
The answer of the cemetery attendant, perhaps can help us see the other side. I didn’t know how best to express the feeling. I just couldn’t put the pieces together. I spent half of the day at the cemetery where we would lay Ravi. I could see that many grave holes were dug and waiting loved ones gone and never to be seen in this life; only memories to linger.
“Do you ever get fond of this?” – Fred Smiled, looked at me quietly, laid a few more bricks to Ravi’s grave wall and said – “No!!”. He had spent years working at the cemetery along with his friends – yet the stories of death did yield goose bumps on his skin. In Piper’s (1986) sharing of April 6, on What is Hope – he defines the term Biblically, that is:
Biblical hope is not a mere desire for something good to happen. It is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. Biblical hope has moral certainty in it. When the word says, “Hope in God!” it does not mean, “Cross your fingers.” It means, to use the words of William Carey, “Expect great things from God.”
Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 succinctly opens our eyes to the reality of resurrection, our great expectation, pointing us to the ultimatum of the subject. All through, the thread Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:19, a hard truth for us yet so profound – (NIV), “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Paul’s intention is for us to think beyond hope bound in this life. The paradigm of this hope in Christ is eternal too – an expectation for beyond this Life.
The paradigm of this hope in Christ is eternal too – an expectation for beyond this Life.
Theologians would go back and forth on the subject of death, yet the reality for both those that have and not believed in Christ is the effect death brings in contrast to life. The difference between the two is perhaps the before and aftermath of the aspect of life. One says, “tomorrow, life will be okay” and the other says – “tomorrow, life will be okay yet even when it doesn’t, to the cost of this life, I still know that, it will be okay.” The hope to live when the race ends changes our story, how we see and do things in this life.
Our obedience in these times anchored in the sovereignty of Christ as we live today must be informed by the assurance that we will live tomorrow through Christ; that even when tomorrow ends, we will still live with Christ. This should impact our attitudes in such unprecedented times. Yet, it is undeniably paramount that with due diligence, we observe all it takes to be safe.
May hope change our attitude. May this give us the confidence in such times, as we regard all measures to combat COVID joining in the fight against the pandemic. Let’s embrace Christ as our hope eternal. When fear and death seem to sear, may we soar with Christ as our hope. May we continue to pray for each other that God will strengthen and comfort us in such times. Even when he saw death’s thongs linger, Ravi’s hope was Christ. May Christ define our hope.
2 Thessalonians 2:26 (NIV) – Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lawrence Owinya is married to Oyella Simple Lydia. They serve at Matugga Bible Church, a Church plant of Lugogo Baptist Church where he has had the opportunity to serve with the administration office and as well on the Elders Board of the Church. He loves to spend his time with Children during Sunday School. He teaches the Sunday School at MBC. He loves to write. Together with his wife, they are passionate about mission work. Lawrence currently pursues his Masters of Divinity in Missions at Africa International University after having completed his Bachelors in Theology at Africa Renewal University. Interns with PIONEERS East Africa and is an alumni of ACEMU – The Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Uganda – A MISSION Forum.