Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
Today was a strange day.
Stunned silence filled the Jeepney ride home from the landfill site today as I shared what 4 of us had spent our last few hours of ministry doing. Phoebe, a girl of 11 or so, asked us to come and pray, not uncommon here, but in this instance it was for a dead baby who had died 24 hours previous.
We laid hands on the baby and prayed for 1 hour and 15 minutes before the coffin arrived. In that time we saw no change in the condition of the baby. We were able to comfort the family and release the power of the great comforter over them.
So, we're sitting on a landfill site, full of dirt, full of flies, full of poverty with a dead baby and a grieving family... so what is my response?
My response is to declare that death has no victory, death has no sting.
I have seen people healed of all sorts of ailments, all sorts of disease, all sorts of brokenness and the team here before us even experienced a baby, dead for a day, raised to life... but then this! Logically, we could assume that this disappointment would topple all that I have seen and all the stories of breakthrough and the miraculous, but it hasn't.
In fact, it has done just the opposite. Today has reminded me that we straddle two different time zones.
Jesus lived as a man, the God of the universe in human form, he identified with our brokenness, our pain and even shared in our death. But then, three days later, Jesus broke through death, coming back to life in dynamite power and then appeared to a host of people. He didn't do this to show off, he didn't do this to prove something, he did this to make a way for us to experience the same, that even though we die, we will then be returned to life because of the power of God's love which broke through the grave so that we could follow suit.
I am convinced that his death and resurrection made our wholeness a possibility right now here in this timezone, because, in fact, the timezones are just markers that we have created; in reality they co-exist, but often we find our selves with jet lag, remnants of the old time zone, the old way of thinking and old way of life.
When I travel, I fight jet lag through staying active and vigilant and eating at the right time for the new time zone, I choose in to that new time zone I am travelling to before I am there, before I experience it, because I know that it is coming. Time zones only collide well when you choose into the new time zone and forget the old one.
These 'time zones' of the old life and the new life collide only when we prepare by standing in the truth of the new time zone and then we step out in faith and risk it all to fight the jet lag because of this strange and wonderful hope that we have.
The time zone when we are all returned to life, the fullness of life, is coming but it comes only as we drag it into our current time zone. Little by little, the patterns of the new time zone will win out and take over the old time zone.
So, we're sitting on a landfill site, full of dirt, full of flies, full of poverty with a dead baby and a grieving family - My response is that Jesus makes all things new and that a time zone is coming when all the lame walk, when all the blind see and when all the dead babies live. Until then I will position myself to live out this reality here and now. I will continue to see healing as I have over the past 12 years and I will see the dead come alive. I will see the new timezone take over.
So, we're sitting on a landfill site, full of dirt, full of flies, full of poverty with a dead baby and a grieving family and yet we're full of hope.
Today was a strange day.