Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Death. We weren’t created for it. We were created for life and the joy of community. But sin’s effects trickle down into each one of us – making death inevitable.
For the Christian, however, there is hope beyond death – as we look forward to a new world not marred by sin and to perfect fellowship with God and others. This is Paul’s hope as he faces his imminent execution.
Where does such strength come from? How can Paul be at peace in such dire circumstances?
Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him (Psalm 28:6-7).
Paul has nothing to fear in death. He rests in the grace of God – which has strengthened him to persevere to the end, equipping him to accomplish the work God prepared for him to do…
…the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
We, the children of God, the ones who have been ransomed by his blood and have received the righteousness of Christ through faith – we are saved from the hopelessness of death. Even though we weren’t created for it, God has overcome it, and we can say confidently with Paul: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 2:18).
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever (Psalm 30:11-12)!