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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Monday, July 19

"Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he groaned in his spirit and was troubled.
—John 11:24

Death and birth are united in a way that we as humans have difficulty understanding. Death feels so painful, loss so agonizing, while birth is so hopeful, so full of joy. Death feels like a cruel mistake, while birth feels like a wondrous miracle. 

In truth, both have their own wonder—they lead from and to God and God is present in both. That doesn't make the sadness of death any less, nor the joy of birth any greater, but they are not, in the grand scheme, separate from one another. 

A child being born is actually "dying"—that is, the child has to leave the environment it has known for 9 months in order to pass on to this world. If there were others in the womb with that child, they would see the birth as a death. 

Likewise, when a person dies on earth, they are being born into another existence, and we feel the loss of their visible presence. The surprise is not that death is pitiless and birth joyous. The surprise is that both are really miracles.

Let me trust, O God, in the power of your timelessness. In you, eternity stretches from behind into beyond. In you, death and birth are one. Give me eyes of faith to see the marvel of both.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2003.