No one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them--
so that they should live on forever
and not see decay. (Psalm 49:7-8)
I was struck by the helplessness in this Psalm, and the candid talk about death. The writer goes on to say that both wise and fool alike, rich and poor the same, will one day make their graves their homes forever. It is so harsh it caused me to pause.
I was speaking with a coworker this evening. She continues to mourn the death of her dad, which was close to a year ago. The desire to have him back is so strong that it still brings tears. She and her mom are still learning how to go about life without "Mac" in it.
Death is a tricky thing. I wish I could wrap my mind around it a little more. I wish our culture wouldn't do so much to distort its reality. I wish it would never take those I love. I wish it would never cause pain in the lives of those I care about.
Within the last week, two of my good friends from my Bible study group had babies. I was blessed to visit both newborns within a day of them taking their first breath. What a precious thing new LIFE is! It is so incredible to hold such a small little person in your arms, to study their amazingly tiny features, and to wonder at all the things they will experience in the days and years ahead.
How does death fit in?
I'm blessed to spend my days at home with two very healthy and very active little boys (and one very healthy and active grown man for my husband!). We are constantly exploring the world together, learning new things and testing boundaries (in both good and bad ways). The wonder of LIFE seems endless: so many places to go, things to do, images to see, sounds to hear.
How does death fit in?
Perhaps I struggle with understanding death because God never intended us to know it. Perhaps it doesn't seem to fit into LIFE because it has never "belonged" there. Perhaps it causes such a hazard to daily life because it frays the fibers of community and family that God has so skillfully sown.
Coincidentally, this morning, Noah helped me make Resurrection Rolls. If you have no idea what I'm talking about or have never made them, you need to make them tomorrow morning. They are so easy and so awesome. And so delicious! You take a marshmallow (representing Jesus), roll it in melted butter, roll it in cinnamon sugar, then wrap it up in a crescent roll (representing the tomb). After you bake it, you pinch open the crescent roll to find that the marshmallow is no longer inside! The "magic" makes kids giddy, and it captures a bit of the joy and awe that the witnesses must have had that first Easter, when they discovered that the grave would not be Jesus' home forever.
|photo credit: truecouponing.com|
Which brings me back to Psalm 49:
But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
he will surely take me to himself.
I wish I could wrap my mind around this a little more.
God has erased the evil power of death.
I really don't have to worry about how death "fits in" because it's just a blip on the screen; it's a moment of transition from life to life. It is part of our world. It is part of the future history of every newborn child. But it is not the defining moment. It is not the end. It is just a part of the life that God gives us to live.
That is delicious.