See how He loves us

It was strange, to stand at my grandmother’s casket and think, See how much He loves us.

I mean, funerals are for weeping, for mourning, for wishing we had just a few more minutes with our loved one. But they also prompt us to ponder the fleeting-ness of life, and to examine what we really believe about what happens after death.

Death is our worst enemy, isn’t it? We go out of our way to avoid it. Our biggest fears usually center around losing someone we love forever. We hold our lives so dearly precisely because we know it’s not forever, that it’ll all be over someday. We visit graves and mark the years by the anniversaries of our loved ones’ deaths. We do our best to prepare for our own. Death is a Big Deal.

And yet, it is no match for our Warrior King. Jesus died, too, but He didn’t stay dead. I mean, stop and think about that for a minute. Who does that? Who can die and then be not dead three days later? There are all kinds of theories on whether the account of Jesus’ resurrection is real, but supposing the Bible is true, that this really did happen … well, ponder the implications of that for a minute with me, will you?

If our Jesus has proven to us that He is so powerful that not even death can end Him, then how much more confident can we be that when He says He is for us in every way, is on our side, is always interceding for us, He is able to do just that? Our objections to Him, our wanderings, our wrongdoings — what are those compared to death? He is greater than all of those things, and we can’t ever be too bad for Him to come to our rescue.

And goodness, are we ever in need of rescuing! We don’t like to think we are, but I think, deep down inside, we all know it. We cover it up by trying to prove ourselves in countless ways — by working late hours, by navel-gazing, by buying all the things. If death is our biggest fear, then perhaps our second-biggest is, “Am I good enough?” We’re not, and we know it. We can’t break free from the cycle unless Someone outside of ourselves reaches down and pulls us out of the hamster wheel.

But, see how He loves us? Because who else would do that? What kind of Father would hear the cries of the hearts of His people and spare no expense to give them a safe passage home? What kind of Creator would leave His lofty throne and become just like us so that He could someday make us like Him? What kind of King does it take to not wait for His subjects to come to Him, but to set a plan in motion before the beginning of time that had Him coming to save us before we even knew what we needed?

Only a good one. Only a loving one.

I cried at my grandma’s funeral. I cried because I’ll miss her. I cried and I couldn’t finish reading her eulogy at the graveside service. I cried for my grandpa, for my mom and my aunt, because they will feel the loss the most keenly.

But the thing about Jesus is that we do not have to weep as people who have no hope, because He has completely changed the rules. There are still tears, but they are no longer bitter. We will still die, but it will not be the end of our lives. There is grief, yes, but there is joy beyond the sorrow. Even death has lost its sting.

See how He loves us!

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