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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Death Stings!

Two deaths in a week!

These were acquaintances of mine; colleagues in ministry. One was sudden and unexpected. The other: an unsuccessful battle with cancer.

Both passings of life sting.

Death of friends and loved ones are not uncommon. The longer we live, the more we become aware of how precious life is. The older we are, the more we recognize our mortality. And…

…As the recognition of our impermanence increases, many are prone to do one of two things: Ignore or prepare.

A friend of mine in the insurance business shared with me how many of her clients tend to delay “getting their house in order,” financially.

While the death of others is expected, many of her customers appear to operate with the assumption that they have time; delaying the uncomfortable (yet responsible) action of establishing a will, trust, medical power of attorney, etc.

Attending to our wills and financial matters is not the only requirement that needs our attention.

Over the years, I have wept with families who have lost loved ones. I have been present to mothers and fathers who have lost their child; wives and children who have lost their husbands and fathers. I’ve observed first hand how death stings! I’ve watched…

…The heart-felt condolences, prayers, platitudes, and offerings of love extended to those who have lost loved ones. However, as sincere as they are, they are incapable of eliminating the sting of death.

Today, family and friends of my colleagues are experiencing that sting. They mourn and grieve. Tears are plentiful, and hearts are broken.

Followers of Jesus have confidence grounded in the resurrection of Christ, that our physical death is not the end of our story. Although our physical life will end, we will live eternally.

That’s the faith and hope my colleagues shared. That’s the confidence we have because of Christ. Despite this wonderful assurance, death still stings!

The words of the Apostle Paul remind us that the sting of death is real:

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” [Emphasis mine]

As much as I’m thankful for the assurance we have because of the resurrection, the sting of death is not — and cannot — be realized until our mortality puts on immortality.

Just as it is essential to review our wills and trust directives periodically, it is necessary to ask questions regarding our faith regularly.

Whom do I trust? Am I at peace with my inevitable appointment with death? Why am I comfortable with that assurance?


The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 15:54–55.

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