September 21 I Monday
2 Corinthians 13
“‘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
How do we view the life that we have? How do we understand death that inevitably looms over us? I know a man who was diagnosed with cancer and he sent a letter to his family and friends with this message, “Life expectancy is a fragile thing. For all we know, some plan may be brewing in the mysteries of providence that will take me to be with Jesus by some other means in a totally surprising way. We do not put our hope in the odds, we put our hope in God and the final joy of fellowship with Him. The One who appoints our day according to His infinite wisdom.”
How do we frighten a man like that? A man who believes he is living right on schedule with a God who has appointed his days with infinite wisdom. Even though the doctors told him he has cancer and the prognosis is not good. His life expectancy may be reduced but who knows? Maybe he will die earlier than that from some other cause. Regardless, he knows what is going to happen: he is going to be brought into fellowship with God’s Son in a way that he cannot in this life, enjoying Him for all eternity. We can share this man’s perspective when we surrender our days to God in whom we place our hope.
The well-known Psalm 23, often read at funerals, says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Psalm 23:1-6).
None of us are running to death or are excited about it, but the psalmist reminds us that we do not need to fear death. In fact, David calls it a “shadow of death” and shadows cannot hurt us. We are all on a journey where we will eventually meet death in this life, but may we remember that it is only a shadow of death. We will fear no evil because the Lord is with us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your victory over sin and death. I need not fear when I walk through the shadow of death because I know You, Lord, are with me always and I will dwell in Your house forever. Amen!