Matthew 10:30 …And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (NIV)
I was having lunch with a couple co-workers the other day and the subject of death came up. Within the last 2 weeks, 2 people from my hometown of Marinette, Wisconsin passed away unexpectedly – prematurely in my opinion. Working in an industry that proactively helps people prepare for the unexpected, achieve financial security and proper legacy planning, I asked myself, “Did they have their estate in order? Will their families be o.k.?”
Confession: I don’t handle death very well. When it comes to death I withdraw, cower, detach. I feel such a deep sense of grief and take on the emotions that are associated with loss; regardless of whether it is my own personal loss or loss for the survivors of the deceased. When I mentioned that over lunch, my co-worker caught me by surprise when he responded, “That’s weird, since you are a Christian!”
How am I supposed to react to that statement? Just because I’m a Christian I should be able to handle death easier? Perhaps as Christian’s we know that death is only a gateway from this life to the next, but there are two ways that I take that; either grieving over NOT knowing that they are truly went to heaven or (selfishly) grieving our earthly loss. It’s hard to let go of people to have made a significant impact for the Kingdom – they inspire me!
In Genesis chapter 23, the whole chapter is about Abraham’s wife, Sarah’s, death. It describes Abraham negotiating the appropriate place for her burial with Ephron. With all of the sensitivity that I have around the event of death, I had that same struggle with this entire chapter – it’s so sad. That is until I learned that this chapter had a greater significance. According to Bob Deffinbaugh recorded in www.bible.org, he states, “By determining that Sarah, and later he and his descendants, would be buried in Canaan, Abraham “staked his claim” in the land which God had promised. The land where he would be buried was to be the homeland of his descendants. The place that God had promised him was the place where he must be buried.”
So I now have a new perspective. Not so much on death itself, because let’s face it – it’s hard stuff. Yet, the world says that Death and Taxes are our only guarantees in this life, but I have one addition: God’s greater plan! Each one of us, for whatever time we are given on this earth, is a part of a greater plan. If God knows the hairs on our heads and the number of breaths we will take while we live upon this earth, we can count on God’s plan to prevail and I’m putting my beats on that… not death and not taxes.