Today from the worldometers.info, the total number of deaths from the COVID-19 is already up to 20,519. That number might be different depending on which day you’re reading this blog. Approximately a quarter of the world is on quarantine already. That means zero movements, which means many things for the many people- no business, economic crunch which points out to a whisper of death, challenging the voice of hope that we need to hear. All across the globe, the message is standard- ‘stay at home’. In other countries, it is more cremation and consequently, tears and mourning. The world of science is also in a quagmire of sorts. There is no antidote from the labs. It seems to be the end of time.
In Kenya, almost everything is communal. Funerals are limited to 15 people and wedding cancellation proposed. Looking at all these realities, there is a sudden whisper of death all across the globe. Men’s hearts have sunk in despair, and even earbuds are not able to quiet the whispers.
A Temporary Echo
We cannot ignore the reality of the string of death. When people die, it hurts. At this point, we have to deal with the fact that death is, now, a closer neighbour. The darkness of the morgues and the chill of the cemeteries should not land the final blow for us. We need to see beyond now and find assurance that all this is a passing cloud.
Today, the question that begs an answer right is, “Where did death come from?” It does not matter how it comes- death is painful. Sickness brings anxiety and cripples our mental capacity to be stable emotionally in times of uncertainty. Why? Because death came as a result of sin (1 Cor. 15:50-57). Life was cut short but not completely. Death is victorious for a while, but then there comes a day when a more significant voice will overcome the whisper of death- the voice of hope (Romans 15:8-13).
One day, for those who put their faith in Christ, we shall look at death whether it was by accident, incident, or disease- and say these victorious words with Paul, ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting (1 Cor. 15:50-57)?’ Now, for these words to be used, “victory” and “sting,” it means that death holds some supremacy over humanity that hurts us. If any of us had the chance, we would defend to the teeth, those whom we love, from the victory and sting of death. Ultimately, we cannot do it because death has terrific power. But dear friend, that is a false reality. Death must die. Amidst the cries and paralysing fear of COVID-19, let us remember that this whisper is for a while. A thundering and silencing voice speaks for those who would dare believe. That voice is Jesus. Yes, death is more robust than humans, but he is the one that gives eternal life in heaven (John 10:28).
An eternal roar!
When I was a little younger, I used to play a video game called Modern Warfare. Let us say I have a thing for virtual war and soldier-like skills. I don’t think I can make a good soldier in real life. Anyway, in this game, one has multiple lives to move through a particular stage until you conquer and move to the next. The deceitful effect of video gaming is here- there is no grasp of reality. If anything, truth is thrown out of the window. Every time I failed a step and repeated it till I won, I got this rush of excitement because I was able to shoot down the character who landed the last bullet on ‘me’ initially. In my head, I simply go like, ‘Got you, man! Keep quiet now. I’m gone!’ I would also shout out in victory as I stepped forward to the next level.
This video game scenario is the exact picture of what is going to happen to death one day. It is like a problematic level that all but one, have failed. Since Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3), death took charge to bring that sharp sting in the heart of man. This situation was hopeless until Christ died on the cross (1 Cor. 15:24-26). At that juncture, everything changed. The Captain of our souls, Jesus Christ, silenced whispers of death that brought a seemingly eternal wave of fear, with a single roar when he said, ‘It is finished!’ (John 19:30). For those of us who are in Christ, in the face of COVID-19 and other prevailing ailments, the whispers don’t need to send us paralysing chills. Like the Modern Warfare experience, there is a new lease of life that waits for us. At this point, we may hear the whispers all right. However, after the stage is done and death has had its way, we shall open up to a new normal- victors normal. No more fear and anxiety. No need to worry nor bury. No fear of the night or an ambulance sound. Only victory and glorious rhetorics, ‘Where is your victory? Where is your sting (1 Cor. 15:50-57)?’
Point of Praise
Life is more than what we see or have. Death is more than just pain and loss- it is an opening to another entity that we all must desire to see and have. Our hearts need to look beyond the grave and see eternity in the faithful hands of our God (John 10:29). Paul reminds us in Romans 15:8-13 of the faithfulness of our God of hope who can fill us with all hope. He is faithful to keep His promises (as he did for the patriarchs) and consequently, we can trust him to accomplish the same for us. In John 14:1-3, Jesus reminds us that we should not let our hearts be troubled because he has gone to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house. May your heart and mind hear the roar which silences the temporary whispers of death brought forth by this COVID-19 pandemic. As you sail through, let the voice of hope speak louder than the rest. Amen.