For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, 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?"
(1 Corinthians 15:53-55 NIV)
The 13th of this month marks the anniversary of my mother's passing. I remember that it marked a turning point in my spiritual walk and gave me a new understanding of God's love and power. When my mother was ill and we had been given the news from the doctors that they had done all they could do, I thought that if I prayed long and hard enough, God would heal her and she would be another one of His miracles with a testimony that God has the last word, no matter what the doctors said. As the days and weeks past, I waited confidently that God will work a miracle. Then I thought to myself, if that was the case, then no one who had praying family and friends would ever die. So, that not being the case I had to move to a more mature level in my faith. My new prayer became one of recognizing God's power over us, His creation. I then began praying that even though I knew he had the power to heal my mother, but should he choose not to, I'd still serve Him and love Him. If he decided not to heal her, it didn't mean He couldn't.
I had made the same mistake many Christians make. When we ask God for something and do not get it we see it as loss or failure, but God's answer even when it's not the answer we want is always gain and victory. Even in death there is victory. When God chooses to take one of his own it is to reward them for their obedience and for their service to him. We often times forget what death actually means to a Christian. It is not the end but instead it is the beginning of eternity with God. It means that our loved ones are now in a place to receive all the promises God has made and that were confirmed by Jesus' death on the cross. God loved my mother so much that he took her out of sickness, pain and suffering to be with him where all the things that plague our frail human bodies no longer exist. When I think about where she is, I can't help but rejoice and be thankful. Yes, I miss her greatly and I still wish she were here, but I know for certain, that when she died, death lost the battle. God had made room in heaven for my mother and he listened to her silent prayers in those last days. I know that she was on a long conference call with God and he gladly took careful notes before she left to be with him. My mother who was once mortal is now immortal, her body which was perishable is now imperishable and death was swallowed up in victory!
On this anniversary of her victory over death, I praise God and I am challenged by the life she led, to walk, talk and live in a way that will insure my victory when God calls me home. So, I say, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"