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Lent's Promise of Death

by Doug Floyd

Jesus calls us out into the wilderness, so that we can finally…die. He frees us
from the cruel slavery of neverending existence by inviting us into the delightful
freedom of life everlasting.

Yet we struggle and fight and grasp to survive in a world that is dead. This world
trudges on and on in endless cycles of lifeless living. The ancient creed still
echoes in our world: “what has been, is, and will be again.” We simply tread round
and round a gristmill of movement without change.

Think of the horror of living day after day after day with no hope of change. The
loneliness that chokes the soul growing day after day. The bitterness of
disappointment increasing moment by moment. The pain of betrayal, the loss of
innocence, the web of envy, the fire of lust, the sting of regret entwining our
souls breath by breath.

Imagine lying in a bed wracked with pain from cancer slowing eating through the
body. One day the doctor comes and delivers the bad news: “All our tests indicate
that you are never going to get well—and you’re never going to die.” Day after day
after endless day of pain twisting and turning through the body.

The world we cling do kills the soul and the body stumbles forward in numbed
chaos.

Before Jesus came, the world couldn’t die. Everything kept turning in circles.
Everything and everyone cannot escape the endless circle. Reincarnation is the
inability to die. Endlessly reappearing in one form or another. No memory. No
power to change. No mercy. No redemption. Just endless circles.

C.S. Lewis paints this terror of not being able to die in “The Great Divorce.” The
condemned cannot die. Thus they cannot change. They simply grow firmer and
stronger and more resolved in their illnesses, handicaps, bitternesses, self
deceptions. Harder and harder and harder. Moving farther and father apart.

Jesus comes so that man might finally die. For unless a grain of wheat falls to
the ground and dies it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. The
cross brings death--an end to our world. As we travel through lent, we embrace the
hope of the cross, the hope of change.

At first, the cross seems like a destructive intrusion, an unwanted invasion of


our comfort zone. The comfort of our lifeless world may come to an end. But then
the resurrection welcomes us to a new heavens and a new earth. St. Paul reminds us
that we will face tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or
sword (Rom 8:35). We will know the struggles of loss and weakness and hardship. We
will be delivered to death for Jesus’ sake. And the life of Jesus will be
manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:11).

And in His life, we will discover a love that does not waver, does not weaken,
does not fade regardless. In His life, we will rest in a love that encircles us
with life everlasting, leading forward to new worlds and new heavens we never
imagined.