No one ever really dies. That statement may sound strange to you considering that we hear about death every day. Television news reports are almost a constant stream of death-related stories. You can’t look at the internet without hearing about death. Even much of our entertainment -- movies, TV dramas, and books -- center around death in some way.
Each week, we hear about scores of people being killed in suicide bombings in Iraq or Nigeria. We hear about people dying from floods and famine. We are shocked by random shootings that strip life from people who are going about their business with no thought that they would die that day. We are stunned by the news that someone who appeared to have it all decides to end their life by committing suicide. And then there are the deaths that hit close to home -- when a friend, family member, or a uniformed military officer calls or comes by to tell us that someone we know and love has died.
When we really think about it, though, death seems strange and out of place in this world. It unnerves us that someone can be here today -- full of life, vitality, and energy -- and gone tomorrow. Saint Nicolai of the Serbian Orthodox Church expressed this feeling when he wrote the following: "Death is not natural; rather it is unnatural. Death is not from nature; rather it is against nature. All of nature cries out, ‘I do not know death! I do not wish death! I am afraid of death! I strive against death!’ Death is an uninvited stranger."
As awful as death is to us, the truth is that those who die are not forever extinguished from existence. They simply pass from this life to another realm of life -- a place where they still exist and are just as real, but a place where people in this world cannot see them. The Bible sheds light on this invisible -- or spirit -- realm.
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