Last year I planted a rose bush in our garden, a knock-out rose that produces fragrant deep red blooms. Winter came, the flowers faded, and the leaves withered. The bush spent weeks buried beneath a bone-chilling snow in Colorado.

When the snow melted, and winter began to lose its grip, it looked dead. The plant showed no signs of life. Birds started to return: red-wing black birds, chickadees, blue jays and few finches. Two sparrows decided to build a nest in our bird house. The male with a dark bib beneath his beak. The female with a gray breast. They worked tirelessly stuffing strands of straw through the tiny opening. The aspen bloomed and the grass turned green. But the rose bush remained as it had all winter, to all appearances, dead.

I almost gave up, but then, low on the stem a leaf, and then another, leaves bursting from the limbs preparing for another summer with blossoms and blooms! What appeared to be dead was alive and merely waiting.

Job made a similar observation. “For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail.  Though its roots grow old in the ground, and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and produce sprigs like a plant.  But a man dies and lies prostrate. a person passes away, and where is he?” (Job 14:7-10).

Anyone who has buried a loved-one has doubtless asked the same question and felt the same feelings Job felt. I wrote a poem about my experience visiting the burial spot for my wife’s father:

I stand here where we stood, alone,

and look at your stone

seeing your face, and hearing your voice

as you saw and heard and spoke to me,

of those who share your soil.

 

What of those who populate the cemeteries, our own loved ones whom we have committed to the earth. Will they live again? Will we?

After an agonizing season of suffering, Job answered his own question. “Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, He will take His stand on the [d]earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I will see God. Whom I, on my part, shall behold for myself, and whom my eyes will see, and not another,” (Job 19: 25-27).

Paul used a similar metaphor. “That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own,” (1 Corinthians 15:36-38).

Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,and the living One; and I [was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18). “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in me will live, even if he dies,” (John 11:25).

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. His books are available at www.tinsleycenter.com. Email bill@tinsleycenter.com.

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