• Chrissie Angell

How Can We Experience Joy in Death?

I felt guilty. My grandma passed away, and I didn’t feel the sorrow I thought I should. I felt sad, but I didn't feel the overwhelming grief I imagined I would. To be honest, I only cried on two separate occasions.

We were so close; I adored my grandma. So, why wasn’t I more upset? Shouldn’t there be an outpouring of tears over her passing? Shouldn’t I feel an overwhelming sorrow?

The truth is, although I was sad that I wouldn’t get to call and chat with her or enjoy banana bread with her while sitting in her living room, I was happy for her. For years dementia had been stealing pieces of who she was, and finally, it left her bedridden and unable to care for herself. She would have hated that if she was mindful of what was happening.

So, when she passed from this world, I was sad for myself, but my joy for her was so much greater than my sorrow.

How could I feel joy in her death? That may sound a little bizarre, but my joy stemmed from knowing that my grandma had a deep understanding of something greater.

My grandma knew that God created her, all of us, with a specific plan in mind that would allow us to have a rich relationship with Him. But in our humanness, we strayed from Him through our sin. That sin led us to brokenness, causing us to feel shame, isolation, pain, hurt. . . the list goes on and on.

We all have an innate desire to fix that brokenness, so we set out to mend the pieces. Some of us do it by working hard to be successful. Others think making people happy or having new relationships will ease that pain. Attaining more money, a new house, drugs, alcohol, sex. . . the list of things we do to try to heal that brokenness is endless.

The thing is, we will never, ever be able to fix the brokenness that sin leaves in our lives. Nothing we can do will make it go away.

However, there is good news! No, literally! The Bible calls it the gospel, which translates to “good news.” Simply put, God knew that we would never be able to fix the brokenness we experience from sin. Only He can do that. And so, He did that by sending His Son, Jesus, to come to Earth and live as a human. Jesus was the only human in all of existence to live a perfect life, free from sin.

Because He was perfect and God-turned-man, He was able to pay the penalty for our sin. He did that by dying on the cross. But dying alone wasn’t enough. Jesus’ body was buried, and then on the third day after His death, He came back to life! Doing so proved that He was no ordinary human, but He was God in human flesh. That’s why He was able to pay the debt for our sin.

But, in order for that debt to be paid, we have to do two things as a way of accepting His payment. We must repent and believe. Repenting means to turn away from our sin or change. We have to acknowledge that we have sinned and then commit to changing. We must also believe that Jesus was the Son of God, who died, was buried, and was resurrected to pay the cost of our sin.

When we do those two things, God takes our sin from us and gives it to Jesus to carry. That’s when healing begins, and we can return to a relationship with God, which was His perfect plan all along.

Because my grandma knew those things, because she repented of her sins and believed in the gospel message, I have no doubt that she is fully restored and with Jesus today. Her mind that was diseased and her body that was broken are both whole and well! More than that, she is filled with peace and joy we can’t experience here on Earth because God has made every part of her soul whole, and she is with Him!

You may be thinking, Chrissie-that sounds good for you, but I’m a good person; I don’t think I’ll go to hell or anything when I die. I would say that “good person” is a relative term. By human standards, you might be doing ok. Maybe you don’t steal or haven’t committed murder. But the Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Not sure that includes you? Have you ever told a lie, even just a little one? That’s a sin. Did you ever sneak a cookie when your mom wasn’t looking, even though she told you no more cookies? Yep, sin. Do you ever drive just a few miles over the speed limit? Well, that’s breaking the law, which is sin. Gossip = sin. Jealousy = sin. Wanting something that doesn’t belong to us = sin.

I’ll come clean. At some point, I have done each of those things. I am a sinner. Be honest, am I alone? That’s a rhetorical question. “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10 (HCSB)

If you’re tired of living in brokenness, repent and believe. Romans 10:9 (ESV) lays it out so simply, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Friend, it really is that simple!

God had a perfect plan; we blew it with our sin. Our sin led us to brokenness, and no matter how hard we try to fix that brokenness, we will never be able to put the pieces back together on our own. But God made a way for us to heal through the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, became a man and lived a perfect life. Then He gave Himself through death on the cross to pay for our sin. He was buried, and then He rose again!

When we believe that and turn from our sin, God begins to heal our brokenness, and we can have a relationship with Him again! Isn’t that good news?!

If you’ve never repented or proclaimed that you believe, I encourage you to say the prayer below today. Then, will you send me a message so that I can rejoice and be praying for you? Email me at Chrissie.jifl@gmail.com.

If you have questions about all of this, get in touch with me. Seriously, I mean that! Don’t let a few questions get in your way. I would love to chat more about this! Send me a message at Chrissie.jifl@gmail.com.

Too often, we overcomplicate this, but it truly is simple. Believe and repent. Then, let God do the rest!

My grandma repented and believed. So, when she left the brokenness of this world, I was delighted for her because she is now whole! And that is how I found joy in her death. That is how she found joy in death! I pray you will experience joy in death, too.

Dear God, I know that I have sinned. I’m sorry. Please forgive me and help me to change. I believe that Jesus was Your Son and that He came to Earth to save me. He was perfect; He never sinned. He died on the cross for me, He was buried, and He rose again. Thank you, Jesus, for doing that for me. I want you to save me and heal me from my brokenness. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Additional References

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9 (ESV)

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