George Michael, Prince, David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder and Fidel Castro are just some of the notable figures that have died during 2016 causing people to refer to this year as “The Year of the Reaper.” Social media is ablaze with people desperately pleading that “2016” not take any more of their favorite celebrities. At the same time, many people are losing close family members and friends which is adding to the feelings of despair and hopelessness. What do the scriptures say about death? How should we deal with losing people we love and how do we heal?
Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Psalms 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
2 Samuel 2:6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
The previous scriptures show us that every generation has its time and the Lord is in control of the passing of one generation and the birth of the new one. As our friends and family get older, they too must pass on from this life. Psalms 90:10 explains how the average life span is 70 years and if people live longer, the health of those individuals will decline. Two thousand sixteen does not have the power of death neither the “reaper.” It is the Lord working now as he has always worked throughout time. As people age, the previous generation dies. With so many people inevitably and continually dying, how are we supposed to cope with losing our loved ones?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Isaiah 57:1-2 The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-3 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
Although the scriptures show us that the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth, it still hurts when our loved ones die. With all the evil happening in the world, we should take comfort in those that have passed on are spared from the present day wickedness and are at rest. At the same time, we are not to fall into the ideology of this world that tells you to “be strong for your family.” “Don’t cry.” These are false and dangerous messages that are sent to our loved ones when someone close to them dies. Ecclesiastes 7:1-3 explains how we are healed through sadness. Grieving is part of the process of dying and if you don’t express your grief, it is unhealthy for you and hinders you from healing.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Death entered into this world because we broke the commandments and the key to changing this cycle is repentance in Christ. While we live, we have the opportunity to right the wrongs by learning the scriptures, repenting in Christ and teaching others to do the same through our example. Once we die, the opportunity to repent and improve our lives is lost. We can not help our loved ones, friends and celebrities that have passed on but we can help those that are alive through repentance and our example.
Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Eventually, death will be conquered but until then, we MUST live in righteousness. We pray that these scriptures benefit anyone suffering loss or grief at this time or in the future. Peace.