I’ll never forget the day I witnessed death. I don’t believe that anyone is truly ever prepared for such a traumatic event regardless of the amount of notice given. I was 19 years old and, having just gotten off of work I was traveling home down the interstate. It was a foggy evening and traffic was backed up on the bridge. Across the interstate, going the opposite direction, an accident occurred. Vehicles were piling up one on top of another. There were so many I don’t even remember the number, it was dozens. The motionless body of a child laid beside my vehicle, having been ejected from a vehicle on the other side of the intersection. It’s an image forever etched in my mind, it never goes away. Even as I write this, 18 years later, I am struck with emotion. It’s not something I talk a lot about.
A horrible tragedy. It’s one thing to hear about it, it’s another to witness it. How many of us have experienced or witnessed such a tragedy? Or felt it’s grief in one form or another?
My husband currently likes the Medal of Honor series that is on Netflix right now. I want to be able to enjoy this with him but at the same time, it’s a hard show for me to watch. This series is about real people who sacrificed their lives. I’ve watched a few episodes with him and I just get so emotional. I don’t know the people in them, nor did I know most of the stories prior but it makes me sadder than anything I’ve ever watched before. Part of it is because my husband and grandfather are Veterans so naturally it tugs my heart but also knowing that someone unselfishly sacrificed their life overwhelms me. In some of the episodes, other Veterans and friends speak of the recipients who have heroically died and it’s just the icing on the cake of my emotions! I hurt for them and I am sad at what they’ve had to witness. All around, it’s just mournful.
All of these examples of death are tragic and while I don’t mean to make this such a somber post, it is a reflection on my own feelings this past week. As we approach Easter I’m thinking about the reason for this season, the death of Jesus – the sacrifice made for us. I think about what He went through, the pain He must have felt and all that He endured. And when I think about his mother, Mary, I see the mother’s face of the child from that accident 18 years ago. The pain she felt must have been agonizing.
If you were to ask me if I feared death, at one point in my life I would have told you yes. But I no longer fear death for myself because I have faith in a God who promises me eternal life. If you were to ask me if I feared the death of those closest to me my answer is a bit different. As a wife and mother, I can’t bear the thought of losing my husband or children. I would be heartbroken, however, there is still a peace associated with knowing that they will one day get to meet Jesus.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.'” John 11:25
All of these thoughts and ramblings have lead me to one question in particular. It’s one thing to mourn the deaths of those we love, we have witnessed, or of heroes, but how often are we thinking about the deaths of those who have never found Jesus? There are people who have never heard about Jesus and those who have turned their back away from Him, and one day they will face death (as we all will). Perhaps this is the saddest of all tragedies.
This weekend as we remember why we celebrate the Easter season, also remember the lost. Jesus’ sacrificial death for our sins and His resurrection is the very reason why Easter is more about them than it is about perfect Easter services and egg hunts. If you are a Believer, you are called to be a witness to the lost and the storyteller of the grandest story in history. If you are lost, know that you are so unconditionally loved that Jesus died for you. And that this week you have been on my mind, heart, and in my prayers.
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9