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He Will Swallow Up Death
by Karen Burkhart
There [Mount Zion/The New Jerusalem] he will remove the cloud of gloom,
the shadow of death that hangs over the earth.
He will swallow up death forever!
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.
He will remove forever all insults and mockery
against his land and people.
The Lord has spoken!
It’s estimated that every year about ten million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) through the winter months. If you’re one of them, you know the symptoms very well—moodiness, loss of energy, and feelings of depression--to name a few. Though the disorder is not fully understood, there is a clear connection to the reduction in sunlight during the winter months. It’s no coincidence that many of us consider the beach our “happy place.” Heavy, gloomy, winter clouds (which are particularly prevalent in Columbus, Ohio), can crush our spirits and cast a shadow over everything.
But there’s another cloud of gloom that hangs over the earth and it doesn’t even break with the tulips: death. Perhaps this cloud has veiled your joy recently as it has mine. Death is the one experience we all have in common; neither we nor our loved ones are getting out of this life alive. This year, in fact, about 56 million people around the world will breathe their last breath. That’s about 153,000 deaths per day! No thanks to the internet, we have little choice but to live and relive some of these losses every day, and probably with more detail than our human psyche was designed to process. Unfortunately, the reality of death is ever before us, and if we’re not careful it can make us sad year-round. Thankfully, the remedy for this sadness is much the same for the seasonal variety—LIGHT! But not just any light—THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD—JESUS!
Turning our faces to the Light of Christ reminds us that the day is coming when death will finally be SWALLOWED UP, never to be regurgitated! This was God’s plan from the very beginning, but we need to wait patiently for its fulfillment. You see, it’s true that Christ already defeated death when he died on the cross and rose from the dead three days later, but until He returns and the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven, we will have to continue to live with death here on this earth. Think of Death like a serpent whose head has been cut off, but lives a little longer to thrash about and wreak havoc before its body gets the message that it’s dead. Rest assured Christ has spoken His message to death and our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, nether shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Spoken Prayer: Light of the World, I turn my face to You. Let me live in the truth that You have already defeated darkness and death through the finished work of Your death and resurrection. Help me to wait patiently for the day of your return and the arrival of the heavens and the new earth, where pain, suffering, and death will have no place. While I wait, give me grace to comfort others through their grief and point them to You. Amen.