Not even death can separate you from God’s love

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Rom 8:28-29. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Death is a terrible and formidable reality. So abruptly and irrevocably it steals away love and laughter, joy and companionship, presence and togetherness, sharing and caring, play and service, wisdom and words, fulfillment and warmth. Leaving a void of loneliness and longing.

You could add many more words in praise of the devastation and destruction of death. That is, if death really were the last or final word.

In fact, it is not. The last word is the absolute and all-pervasive predominance of the love of God and the resurrection from death.

The apostle stacks up a comprehensive list of powers and situations lined up to steal away the last glimmer of hope from a vulnerable human being. But based on the decisive precedent of Jesus moving from life to death and back to glorious life again, there is a sure hope in his name, for us too, to cross the borders of death, and be raised to life again.

Death would claim to separate us from the love of loved ones, and even from the love and care of God. But Jesus broke that vicious cycle by his resurrection.

Precisely because of the love of God, Jesus suffered the pain and anguish of separation from the presence of God by dying on the cross for all of creation. And by breaking the bonds and power of death by coming back to life, He assures us of the love of God for each one of us, even as we have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

That is the last and final word, which I firmly believe. “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:54-55). And because Jesus descended in love to be with us at the lowest point of our existence – death – we may know that He wants to be intimately close to us in all the other possible and impossible situations of our lives.

Strauss de Jager, NG Kerk

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