Nightclub patrons in Orlando, policemen in Dallas, tourists in Nice, France; we are confronted with senseless murders all too often. But there is a question we can ask that can help heal the overwhelming sense of loss during these times. That question is, “What can’t death do?”
My wife’s nineteen-year-old brother, Jeff, was killed by a drunk driver. For a year after his tragic death, my wife and her mother read the Bible every night, especially the teachings of Jesus Christ about life being eternal. Jesus raised others from death and even came back from the grave himself. He disarmed death. He proved that even death could not forever annihilate an individual.
My wife and her mother were comforted by Jesus’ words. In one of his discourses, talking about life after death, he said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (See John 10: 27-29.)
One takeaway from this passage that meant much to them was that a drunk driver did not take their brother/son out of the hand of divine Love. It wasn’t easy, but both my wife and her mother persisted in their prayers until they grew to feel God’s love embracing them – and Jeff. They felt certain – and still do – that Jeff is continuing on in eternal life. They may not know all the particulars of what happens after death, but they are sure that life continues, including the individual life of their beloved family member.
This has allowed them to experience the healing of their broken hearts and even to forgive the drunk driver. They found that death did not have the power to make them bitter, to hate another, or to become paralyzed by grief.
Could it be then, that death does not have the power to stop another’s love for us? Could it be that death can never stop love? I think so.
As we join the supportive efforts of individuals all over the world in prayer, we show that this turning to God not only triumphs over grief and anger, but can also help erase the prejudice, bigotry and madness behind these attacks.
Death cannot end the love we feel for each other. This love and forgiveness will disarm hate.