Yes, we had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead (II Cor. 1:9).
“DON’T BE AFRAID OF DEATH BECAUSE I AM THE RESURRECTION” were the words I heard at one of the most devastating times of my life. The ministry Sue and I had begun in Canada shortly after our marriage had died and we had lost everything, including a place to have our meetings and a place to live. In spite of the loss I continued meetings with a small group of people in homes because I knew the vision for a congregation and teaching center were from God. Then I received word from Oklahoma that my brother had been killed in an accident and I had to depart to attend the funeral. Everyone was discouraged and no one had the motivation to continue the meetings and they ceased. Chris, my mother-in-law, later said, “That was when it all died.”
Thank God for the Holy Spirit; for one evening, while in prayer, I sensed the Holy Spirit rising up out of my innermost being and I began to pray in other tongues. All the time I was praying in the Spirit, I was hearing those words, "DON’T BE AFRAID OF DEATH, BECAUSE I AM THE RESURRECTION.”
I was reminded that this was the word that Jesus spoke to Martha as they stood before the tomb of her brother, Lazarus, after she had stated her theological belief that her brother would live again at the resurrection and Jesus had replied, “I AM THE RESURRECTION.” I also, at that moment, realized that the resurrection is not just a future event, but is personified in the Person of Jesus Christ, and is a present reality in the life of the believer. As Paul said in Philippians 3:10, For my determined purpose is that I may know Him . . . and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection. (Amplified Version).
A resurrection did occur in our lives and in that ministry. A yielding to God, a determination not to quit, a step of obedience, and resurrection power flowed forth. The ministry that died came forth but it was not the same as before; for it came forth in His resurrection power and in ways we could never have planned or strategized.
I then began to see throughout Scripture this principle of His resurrection power at work in our lives. In II Cor. 1:8-10, for example, Paul tells of a devastating ordeal he and his companions experienced in which they gave up hope of living through it. But in the midst of this ordeal they learned, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.
Perhaps there is some area of your life that you feel has died—a relationship, a dream, a career, a project. Maybe you have suffered the loss of a spouse in death or in divorce. On this Good Friday I felt to share with you those words the LORD spoke to me years ago in the midst of death. He said, “DON’T BE AFRAID OF DEATH BECAUSE I AM THE RESURRECTION.”