Death Is Not Okay

By Trillia Newbell

Wednesday morning I packed up the kids and headed to my mom’s home to pick up my niece. She is a sweet young lady in that preteen stage. She and I were going to be spending the entire day together. When I got there and asked what she wanted to do she said, “Go to Applebee’s.” I hadn’t been to Applebee’s in ages.

When we sat down I asked her how she was doing. She said she was great but she was tired of one thing. She said, “I’m just tired of people telling me it’s going to be okay. I just want to know what’s going to happen next.”

A day earlier her mother, my sister, died from what we believe was congestive heart failure. She was only 39 years old. Her death came as a shock. At 7:30 p.m. we got a call she wasn’t feeling well and by 12:30 a.m. she was gone.

My sweet niece is right. To say It’s going to be okay isn’t all that helpful. I know that the mourning will one day be less heavy. I know that by Monday everyone will once again be busy with life’s mundane activities. I also know that one day everything will seem “okay.” But death is not okay. Death is never okay.

Death is not okay because death is a result of a fallen world.

Death Is Not Okay

In the beginning,  God created the world and he created it good.  When God completed the work of his Creation he acknowledged that his work was very good (Gen 1:31).  God’s work is perfect and he is without iniquity (Deut. 32:4).

So why is death not okay? It’s not okay because God created the world good, but due to the “great calamity” of the Fall of Man, what was once perfect became accursed. Adam and Eve sinned and God justly punished that sin (Gen 3: 14-19). The judgment of one  trespass brought condemnation for all (Rom 5:16).

Death is a result of an imperfect and broken world. To be clear, for the Christian, death is not a punishment.* Rather death is a result of a world of imperfection. The world is fallen. We experience starvation, sickness, aging and death and none of these things were “in the beginning.”

Death Will Be Defeated

But God in his infinite wisdom and grace provided a way to defeat death through his son, Jesus Christ. The free gift of salvation through faith in Christ by grace brought justification (Rom 5:16). This free gift of his grace is available to anyone who would place their faith and trust in the finish work of the Cross. Christ died and rose. Christ himself defeated death (Eph 2:6).

God gives us hope first in salvation and then the hope of the return of Christ. On that day,  when Jesus returns, death will be swallowed up for good (1 Cor 15:55). If God intended for death to be okay there would be no need for him to end death.  But instead he promises to create a new heaven and a new earth where  no more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days (Isaiah 65: 17-25).

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26 emphasis mine).

When I stare death in the face as I have had to this week, I can have hope and faith not because everything will go back to life as normal,  but because there will be a day when I will never have to face death again. So,  what’s going to happen next? Right now we wait, but one day death will be defeated. It will be defeated for me. Death will be defeated for you.

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1 Cor 15:54-57 ESV)




*Bible Doctrine, Wayne Grudem, “Death, The Intermediate State, and Glorification”, pg. 348.

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3 Comments to “Death Is Not Okay”

  1. Connie Jakab says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss, Trillia.

  2. Adrienne Diffin says:

    Very sorry for your loss Trillia. Beautifully written and powerful message in WOG magazine.

  3. […] As a result of these devastating personal experiences, and observing the grief of others, I have come to the conclusion that the church generally (at least in practice) has a poor theology of grief. When mom died, I gave the good Sunday school answer (not because it was what I was supposed to say, but because I believed it). I rejoiced that she was now in Heaven basking in God’s glory with no more pain and suffering. Somehow the attitude of Christians and people around me was, “Everything will be okay.” After suffering a recent loss of her own, Redbud, Trillia Newbell, honestly acknowledged that “Death is not okay.” […]