These past months I have been struck by the number of deaths that have taken place among people I know. For me, I feel like it is an abnormal number. I know that there aren’t more deaths than usual, but I have just been more affected than seasons of past. I feel like I, or people I know, are in a constant state of mourning. I am writing this not to just create conversation during a void – but to express some thoughts that I have been struggling with for awhile. My thoughts for a time of grieving.
My grandfather passed away in October. We were incredibly close, and we lived in the same town. He was 90 years old and struggling with cancer, but his actual death was sudden and took us by surprise. Because it was so sudden, I was on vacation when he died, so it has taken me time to feel like he is actually gone – to get that closure.
Besides my grandfather, I know of many deaths this season. I am repeatedly taken aback by the number of crises – and the number of my friends who are left to mourn. Many of my friends have lost much more than just grandparents. And, many of these instances have been unexpected and tragic. Everywhere I turn I feel like there is grieving.
Just a warning. I have bawled every time I watched this.
To top all of this off, I have really been affected by the death of Paul Walker. You might think it is crazy to care so much about a celebrity, but to me he was a beloved “real” person – unaffected by Hollywood – who represents one of greatest and sweetest movie franchises I know. I have been really torn up.
I track the Fast cast on social media, and have been really touched by some words posted by Tyrese. I am leaving you with these thoughts, because I pray they touch some of you like they did me. Yes, I am quoting an R&B artist who is quoting a bishop. Read and see why.
Bishop TD Jakes reached out to me today and spoke healing and closure…. Then I went online and came across this powerful word he spoke at a recent funeral and the word was “I know it feels like death has won”…. and I just wanted to share this….. So that we all get a sense of closure around Paul’s transition and or whoever else you may have lost this is a powerful word…. Embrace….
BISHOP TD JAKES: In moments like this, it feels — it feels like death has won. But the bible says that love is stronger than death. Your hearts are heavy, tears flow down. Your spirits are wounded. I feel that too. I didn’t have the privilege of knowing him as long as many of you have done. I understand what it is to be in pain. You look around and everybody you love and everybody you can count on and everybody you can trust seems to be slipping through your fingers. And it feels as though death has won. The first family, when Cain killed able, it seemed like death had won. Noah escaped the flood. Still he died. It looked like death had won.
Isaiah was an eagle-eye prophet, he could see thousands of miles and years away. Still he died. It looked like death had won. Habaka had come as a prophet to Israel, spoke truth so powerful and so profound, but no matter how close he was to God, still he died. It looked like death had won. We’ve seen scientists and astronauts and politicians and great thinkers of the ages and no matter how profound and prolific or bright they were, still they died. It looked like death had won. But the bible kept saying that love is stronger than death. And like two gladiators in a fight. Every time they enter into the ring it looks like death has won… Love rolled into the ring and said wait a minute, death. You’ve been bullying people for a long time. But I want to set the record straight. Love is greater than death. But early Sunday morning, love rolled up his sleeves and said wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Snatched great death and took the sting out of death and the victory out the grave.
I want you to understand in a very practical and pragmatic way that death has NOT won.
Your tears may flow. Your pain may come. The flowers will wither. The cards will all be filed away. The phone will stop ringing. Mama said, they’re going to stop ringing after a while. Cakes and pies all stop coming. Don’t you dare think that death has won. You will learn what all of us know who have lost people that we love. You’ll be driving down the street one day and you’ll hear Paul’s voice talking in your head. Something he said or something he did will pop up in your spirit and you’ll giggle inside of yourself as if he were sitting in the car with you. And you will find that people that you really love, they may leave you outwardly, but they never leave you inwardly. May the love of God, the peace of the Holy Spirit, the sweet communion of knowing that you are a child of the king keep you through this period in life when it might appear as if death has won, but it’s alive. Love will last forever, for God is love.