One Day We’ll Understand
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
1 Cor. 15: 55
It’s painful to hear, especially when your heart is numb from loss and your eyes red with tears—Death, where is your sting? You want to shout, “It’s right here in the pit of my stomach and the ache in my heart!”
I often hear the familiar passage in 1 Corinthians 15: 50-57 at graveside services, when I’m engulfed in mourning. What joy I felt recently as I unwrapped these precious truths for myself and finally grasped Paul’s reason for writing these thoughts! The entire passage is about Paul’s discussion of the resurrection, including Christ’s resurrection which is the guarantee of our own future resurrection. Then, Paul writes about what he calls a marvelous “mystery”—that those who are alive at Christ’s return will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Those who have already died will be raised incorruptible. We will all be changed! Our corruptible, decaying/dying bodies will be clothed with incorruptible immortality.
When this happens, Paul continues, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
We feel the defeat and the sting while here on earth, but one day believers will be able to say in their resurrected bodies, “Now, death, where is your victory? Where is your sting?” The emotionally painful component of death will be completely gone! We’ll be able to proclaim these words as glorious victors clothed in Christ’s righteousness and in our resurrected immortal bodies! Hallelujah! Truly that is a marvelous mystery that I will take with me in my heart the next time I attend a graveside service.
Until that time, I will continue to ask the Lord to guide me in loving those who mourn and in grieving with those who grieve as death intrudes upon the living. But one day—oh my—one day, I plan on shouting. Be listening for my voice, and I’ll listen for yours as we rejoice in eternal victory!