Shortly after my daughter was born, death visited our family. Alexandra had only seen a couple of daybreaks when my aunt passed. On that dreary Friday, my aunt took her last breath, while my daughter was still taking her firsts. Those were the circumstances of her birth— life and death juxtaposed, joy and mourning intertwined in our hearts.
God’s Word tells us:
“There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven
a time to give birth and a time to die …
a time to weep and a time to laugh
a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Eccle. 3:1-4 CSB).
Death has a way of reminding us of the transience and fragility of life. It hurts. It shocks. It makes us ask, “Why God?” But, where blood courses through veins, death will surely visit, for some sooner, for others later.
That’s the lesson the world learned this week when gripped by the sudden and heartbreaking death of Kobe Bryant and his thirteen-year-old daughter. It’s a tragedy beyond comprehension, one that brought even someone like me—who grew up in L.A. hearing about Kobe, but not following or knowing anything about basketball—to tears. My reaction was no different than those who idolized him: aghast and in disbelief. I asked the same questions everyone else asked: How could someone so incredibly talented perish just like that? How could someone so young with so much life ahead of her die?
People die every day at every hour. But part of what makes Kobe’s death so poignant and hard for the world to process is that he was blessed by God with gifts and abilities that were truly remarkable. His skills seemed otherworldly; his talent legendary. And yet, blood still coursed through his veins. And it’s because of that fact that death met him on that foggy January morning, just like it will meet every single one of us at a time that God has appointed.
I can’t speak with any authority on these matters, but God can. And His Word tells us there is a time to be born and a time to die. That long, summer day in August was my daughter’s time to be born. A few days later, still in the fervor of August, it was my aunt’s time to die.
In the midst of death, it feels impossible to find hope. And yet, that is precisely why Christ died, to obliterate the sting of death (1 Cor. 15:55). He became separated from the Father so that we’d never have to be separated. Our eternity is with Him. Death is the vehicle that ushers us into His glory. This is our promise and our hope:
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4 NKJV).
Featured Image by Olivier Collet