When Death Hits Us Hard

Written By Jes Nuylan, Philippines

Just a week ago, I received a text message that left me shell-shocked. One of my friends from high school had passed away from heart failure—he was only 18.

It didn’t help that my schoolmates and I were still recovering from the death of another of our friends on December 4, 2011. He had died of his injuries from a motorcycle accident. To receive such devastating news twice in just a few years was a double whammy.

The sudden and unexpected deaths caused me to ponder over my own life. What if I died today, at this age? There would be so many dreams and goals in my life that I would not be able to fulfil. Then realization hit me. Death would stop me from fulfilling my lifelong dreams. It would separate me from the people I held dear to my heart. And it would take away all that I treasured. No matter how hard I tried to fulfil my dreams, there was no certainty that I would be able to achieve all of them. There was no telling when death would come and bring all my endeavours to a crashing halt. This realization that I did not have control over my life started to make me fearful.

I asked myself: Since death is an inevitable rite of passage, what then should I do? Should I just sit and wait for death to take my loved ones away from me? Or worse, just sit and wait for death to come knocking on my own door?

Amid my thoughts of this cold, hard reality of inevitable death, I was reminded that as believers, we have the hope of eternal life through Jesus. An overwhelming sense of relief came over me as I thought about the hope God promises. Yes, I cannot fulfil all of my dreams—but there is a bright future that awaits me. I need not fear death. Instead, I should embrace it.

In fact, Paul writes in Philippians 1:21, that “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. This verse provides great comfort to us as Christians, as it tells us that we ought to see death as “gain” as long as we live our lives for Christ. Even though I cannot turn all my dreams to reality, and even though death will bring all my earthly pursuits to an end, I can be certain that I have a joyful life ahead of me in eternity.

This episode made me pause and realize that while our earthly lives are short and death is certain, life with God is everlasting.

“‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”—1 Corinthians 15:55-57


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