Death Is The New Life
by Hayley and Michael DiMarco
Death is painful. It’s invasive and ultimately dangerous. Death threatens a part of you, if not all of you. And it brings suffering and struggle along with it. But when you can see that the death of self in you results in life, you can be set free to suffer and to suffer well. In fact, all the suffering that you face at the hands of your self-death is the suffering of progress (some might say sanctification). It’s like the weight lifter, whose muscles pull and tear, whose body aches and throbs at the end of the day, who doesn’t suffer from the resentment of pain but the welcome of it, knowing that pain is doing its work. The weightlifter looks beyond the painful muscles to the goal of the pain—growth—and because of that the suffering is welcomed. Welcomed suffering, with a clear goal of growth, is somehow less difficult to endure than unwelcome or purposeless suffering.
In this world you will face suffering, there is no question, but it’s what you do with your suffering and pain that matters. To suffer and to refuse to let the suffering destroy in you that which separates you from God is to waste your suffering and even prolong it. Suffering has a very important role in the life of man. In matters of the spirit suffering teaches us more than happiness ever could. And nowhere is the value of suffering and trials given more explanation than in James 1:2Ð4 where we are told to count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The trials and suffering of your life offer you the opportunity to die, and sometimes they make you want to die. But suffering is senseless, and so is the pain that goes along with it, if it serves no other purpose than to destroy you. Here’s the rub: it must destroy something, and it’s your choice what that will be. Will suffering destroy your hope and your faith, leaving you with nothing solid to stand on, alone and empty, or will your suffering destroy the parts of you that tie you to the things of this earth and keep your focus off the God of heaven?
If you believe that death is the new life, then you have to know that you will face trials, you will suffer; but those trials and suffering, now mean something, having a value placed on them, and so will become significantly easier to handle. In fact, when death is your new life, death loses its sting. And this is important because death will come, but how much suffering it will bring depends on your ideas about death. The apostle Paul thought about this death like this, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
So suffering, though it is unpleasant and exhausting, is really nothing compared with what is coming. That’s the state of mind you have to have when you consider dying young—when you consider putting aside your own wants, likes, preferences, passions, dreams, and desires—all for the will of God. When you say no to the things you used to say yes to, when you accept trials as an important part of the life of faith, and when you know the life that comes from the death they bring to you, then it all becomes easier to bear.
Taken from Die Young by Hayley and Michael DiMarco copyright ©2012. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org