Arpon, our hospital ortho tech and Christian brother, recently rushed to the hospital with stomach pains. Within the week he died of acute pancreatitis, despite our desperate prayers and our medical team’s non-stop efforts. We can’t understand why this happened, but we want to trust Jesus in this sudden, shocking event. Is He still and always Victor?
With tears in her eyes, Rani, our milk-woman, showed me photos of her husband’s funeral. “He’s whole now,” her daughter told me. Together we imagined how truly alive he is. Their family had a memorial feast to honor him on Friday; we went.
I thought Wednesday afternoon would be a good time for our teachers’ meeting. Then we heard: Our young friend Anju, mother of three little ones, died of cerebral malaria. Stunned we postponed the meeting and went to the funeral. Little children crowded around the plywood casket, watching as little Koruna wailed in her father’s arms, brothers clinging his sides. Babies somersaulted across the church floor. Pastor Swarno stepped toward the pulpit. “Brothers, sisters,” he began, “Our Savior is the resurrection and the life! He rose, so we too will rise! And brothers,” he shouted, “Our new bodies will be malaria-proof!” We all whispered thanks to the Healer of body and soul.
Walking to yet another funeral, Alo nodded at me. “We’re just visitors here on earth,” she affirmed. Death is treated as an every-day event, which it is. In fact, it’s an in-your-face enemy. A recent trend here is to hire a baby-taxi with loudspeakers to circulate through the community and broadcast news of one’s relatives’ deaths. And even with these extra expenses, it doesn’t cost much to die here in Bangladesh.
So I’ve been thinking. Death, where is your sting? Death to our agendas and plans, death to self and self-focus, and finally death to our bodies – In Him, this too is victory, gain! Jesus said, “He who believes in Me will live (abundant life), even though he dies (to any of the above); and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die (Eternal life has already begun).” Do we believe this? Lord, You are the God of the living. Increase our faith!