“O Death, where is your sting?” is a powerful battle cry in the face of Satan who has lost to Christ’s astounding victory. (See 1 Corinthians 15:55.) My inner poet relishes those words and clings to their beauty.
But honestly, death does sting. I know in my head that God is good and He has overcome. I believe in eternal life and I know that my merciful Jesus has prepared a place for me in His Kingdom.
But death still stings. The loss of my first baby in early pregnancy makes not just my heart ache but my entire rib cage throb. My grandmother’s death is like a dull headache that is easily forgotten at times but rages other times. My grandfather’s passing steals the breath from my lungs and chokes me.
Even the work of clothing my mortal, corrupt self in immortality and incorruptibility is made of a million tiny deaths which can be so hard. (See 1 Corinthians 15:54.) I want to hold tightly to the things I know and to my favorite sins. Putting those things to death so New Life may spring up in their place means letting go and opening my stiff fingers to the mercy of the Lord. And it can be painful.
I know in my heart that God is good and He has overcome. I know that Jesus Christ has won for us eternal salvation. I know that in those ways that Death has no sting—there is only sweetness and everlasting joy. But today I also want to acknowledge that, in this valley of tears, the death of a loved one and the dying to ourselves really does sting.
This hymn sung by a Catholic singer speaks right to this today.
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker, and homemaker. She, her husband, and seven children live in central Illinois, and her son’s alleged miraculous healing through the intercession of Venerable Fulton Sheen was submitted to the Vatican for Sheen’s beatification. Bonnie pretends she has a green thumb, bakes a fantastic chocolate chip cookie, loves naps and chai tea, and blogs. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of the Blessed Conversations Mystery: Believe study found here.