Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Fifteen Verses Fifty Six and Fifty Seven

At the end of Hamilton, Philip, Hamilton’s oldest son, is shot and killed in a […]

Margaret Pope / 12.19.16

At the end of Hamilton, Philip, Hamilton’s oldest son, is shot and killed in a duel. Hamilton and his wife, Eliza, attempt to put their lives back together, moving uptown, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. “It’s Quiet Uptown,” arguably the most haunting song of the entire musical, describes their pain as they continue through life, unable to articulate or comprehend what has happened to them. Hamilton, whose career was built on words, finds himself in a situation where words have lost all meaning. Two lines near the end of the song ring painfully true: “There are moments that the words don’t reach; there is a grace too powerful to name.”

Last weekend, I received news of a friend’s sudden death. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, thinking about the weight of darkness that had overcome her. In that moment, words utterly failed me. The one thing that should allow me to convey thoughts and feelings was rendered completely useless. I sat in silence on the phone with friends and family, feeling helpless. I wanted so badly to communicate something comforting, to make sense of this tragedy, but I could only gasp and utter, “Oh my gosh.”

For moments such as these, when my frail words fail me, I have to trust that there is a Word that will never fail. God’s Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword,” promising a more powerful healing that any human words can (Heb 4:12). This Word “became flesh and dwelt among us” in the form of a baby who would live a perfect life, die a horrific death on the cross, and rise again (John 1:14). All for the sake of his people who despised and rejected him. But by God’s grace that is far “too powerful to name,” Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection robbed death of its victory and sting for those whose lives are hidden away in Him (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). Death does not get the final say. There is hope beyond this dark, broken world. And that news is sweet balm to my mourning, aching heart.

So for now, I desperately cling to the unwavering promises of the Word, especially the following words from John’s Revelation, pray for those survived by my sweet friend, and plead, “Come thou long expected Jesus.”

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. (Revelation 21:1-6)