The Bible agrees - death is our enemy. It is an awful reality. Paul, in his letters, frequently lumps sin and death together - "the law of sin and death" (see Romans 8:2). For in sin we turn our backs on God, and the result of sin is death. Paul even refers to death as our enemy when he says, in the context of resurrection, "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1 Corinthians 15:26).
Notwithstanding death's lowly status with humanity, the question "Aren't you thankful for death?" is a good one. "Why?" you ask. Because death serves a surprising purpose. Although death is our enemy, God uses our enemy for His own divine objectives. This happens in at least two ways:
First, as I said yesterday, death forces us to face reality. When a person is young, he or she considers himself strong and at times immortal. We see it all the time. Kids do some pretty ridiculous things putting their life and health at risk. They jump off cliffs into running rivers (I remember doing that one). They venture into addictive habits. They drive too fast. The list can go on and on. Yet adults can sometimes be even more foolish. They see their bodies breaking down - they know death is coming. Do they listen? Some do. More don't. As we grow older and our minds are not transformed by God's Word, but are conformed to this world, we fall into a type of sleep and we dream that our ideas, and our perspectives - that we are good people - will satisfy the God who made us. Yet death is God's message that something is radically wrong with us and with the world. Something must change.
Second, death is the means whereby we enter into another life - a greater life - a life in the kingdom of God. Jesus died for us, but when Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me," He is inviting us not only to enter our death, but also into His death. Through the death of our will we become eternally bonded.
Here's the good news: to enter into Christ's death means we enter into Christ's life! The whole thing is counterintuitive! From a human point of view it makes no sense. From God's point of view it makes all the sense in the world. So . . . aren't you thankful for death? The outcome is greater than we can see.