We had recently moved into our new house in an unfamiliar place called Davenport. We were doing the initial cleaning of the house, removing the dirt, dust, grime, and other curious things left by the owner before us. Nora, our daughter, had yet to turn a year and could not yet walk, so she was crawling around the living room floor on the safe and comfortable carpet. In an instant, that safe comfortable carpet all changed when a loud noise startled her, and she scurried to cling to my legs as the vacuum cleaner steam-rolled towards her. While Kara was vacuuming and doing the general clean of the carpet, Nora perceived a far greater threat. Crawling with the speed of a ten-month-old and clinging to me, her father’s legs, I whisked her up from apparent danger. There she clung to me, her body relaxing as contentment set in, her heart rate slowed as she was safely in my embrace. In her mind, she was safe from danger, safe from harm. This still happens today, a year later when the vacuum stirs to life. She will run to me, throw her arms around me, and say, “I got you!” in the sweetest little voice you have ever heard. She knows that if she is in my arms, there is no danger, there is no harm. There is only peace and comfort.
This pandemic has brought with it a reality check that was much needed. The average American, if I might be so bold to say, does not think about death. At least not often, and not seriously. That is, until it comes knocking on the door. This is a privilege that comes with living in a first world country with medical advancements, science, and a high standard of living. Death is seemingly a myth. Death is not a day to day reality that must be reckoned with. Look at the car next to you. The fact that people continue to text and drive makes it clear that there is no immediate regard for death. Until now. With daily death reports, charts, and graphs we are forced to look death in the eyes, and rightly so.
Death is a reality that appears to lurk around every corner. We try to defeat it. We strive to outsmart death. We put seatbelts in cars, lifejackets in boats, eat superfoods, and now we wear masks and avoid any kind of physical connection. We do not acknowledge death, instead we try to defy it. Death constantly hunts. Death sneaks up. It comes unexpectedly. We all have stories of death taking someone too young, too soon, and tragically. Death never rests, and death does not care about the precautions that are taken to avoid it. They simply delay the inevitable. Death creeps, and stalks us until finally it says, “I got you,” and takes you into its cold embrace.
We take countless measures to stave off death because if gives us the feeling of safety. It creates a comforting illusion. But that’s all it is, an illusion. For we are not in control. We never have been, and never will be. But the facade remains. Defiance continues as we strive to paint an image of progress and life in a dying world. Medical advancement is a gift from God, do not misunderstand what I am saying, but medicine is not a gift to replace God. It’s best we don’t let it. The fact remains, barring Christ’s return, we will all surely die.
To slip into a false sense of security is a real and dangerous risk. It is something used by the devil as he whispers in our ears, “you will not surely die.” We begin to place our trust elsewhere, or maybe we disregard death altogether. Thinking we can go it alone. Thinking “we got this.” This is where Satan wants us. This is where he stalks and plans to strike. He plans to devour us in our comfort and says, “I got you.”
Death is a reality we must acknowledge and face. It is certainly on our minds more than prior years as we are receiving daily reports of those who have been lost. In this world of death, cling to the only one who in death defeated death. The one who did not strive to stave off death, but who willingly walked into its embrace. Trust in the one who walked out of the grave leaving death buried behind him. Trust in the Jesus who has raised the dead to life. Trust in Jesus who lifts you out of your grave, and brings you close to him to rest in his care. Where there is no danger and no harm, but only peace and comfort. Hear the words of Jesus as he closes his arms around you and says, “I got you.”