The shadow of death
Posted on: 7th April 2023
“…he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone…” (Hebrews 2:9)
Derk and Susan are CMS missionaries in South Asia, where they seek to bring the gospel message of life and hope to a culture where loss, grief and death are regular experiences. They write:
With the warmer weather of spring, the air pollution dissipates a little, but other daily struggles for people living here remain. Inflation is a slow-moving, prowling tiger, threatening the livelihoods and spending power of countless people. The cost of petrol, flour, sugar and oil is rising as mysterious market forces are at play, particularly as the last three are in plentiful supply but seemingly hard to get, which drives up the price.
Still more sobering is how integral the loss of life is to the everyday life experience of people here. We have been confronted by the number of road accidents, particularly when the number of casualties is high, such as when a large bus ran off the road and burst into flames; all the passengers ‘succumbed’.
Another tragedy was the flipping of a tourist boat on a lake. The boat was loaded with children and very few survived. The latest tragedy was the suicide bombing in a mosque next to the police headquarters where 100 people lost their lives, mainly policemen.
Closer to home, the little niece of my language teacher developed a pain in her stomach. The family took her to the hospital, but she died en route, so they turned around and took her home. Many of our students have already lost at least one parent by the time they enter college.
Little time to grieve
According to the customs here, when people die, they are buried the next day if possible. There is little time for families to grieve as they must frantically organise to get the person(s) buried as soon as possible. The grieving will come later.
We pray that we can bring a meaningful perspective to the suffering we encounter. At Easter we remember that our Lord Jesus knew what it was to weep over suffering and death. At the cross he suffered death on our behalf. When he rose again, he robbed death of its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55). Please pray with us for people in South Asia to find the hope of eternal life in Christ.
Do you share Derk and Susan’s compassion for the lost in gospel-poor world regions? Get in touch to find out more about opportunities to serve with CMS at www.cms.org.au/get-involved/opportunities.