There I was driving home from work and my cell phone rang. It was my dad calling. He began by asking me a routine question then I recall him saying, “I got a phone call today that Chris Sessoms was in a car accident.” I expected him to say something along the lines of “pray for Chris” or that “Chris was in the hospital.” I continued listening but to my shock and dismay, he replied, “Chris died this morning.” For the next two days I was literally plastered to my living room floor crying out to God to help me make sense of it all.
As the tears flowed, my soul ached and yet my heart seemed not to be affected by pain of this tragedy. From deep within my gut, a wrenching accordion of pain and hurt flooded to the tear ducts of my eyes. I could only cry and read Scriptures to find relief. It was in the next two weeks that God would birth a message within me that I now entitle, “Where is the Glory in Death?” taken from 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.
You see, I believe that Chris was with us on divine assignment. He was the type of person who had a burden for human welfare that went beyond his finite capacity. He was young, full of hope, loved the Lord and his family. In all that, the circumstances surrounding his death left many people perplexed. According to reports, he was driving to work on the road leading from his home, and seemingly without rhyme or reason, his vehicle went off the road, flipped several times, before ejecting him from the driver side. No sign of skid marks; no impact with oncoming traffic; no inclement weather; no inkling of what caused the fatal accident. The July 17, 2009, local paper’s headline simply wrote “Norfolk councilwoman, Daun Hester’s brother is killed in a single vehicle crash.”The facts were simple, yet questions arose in the minds of every person who loved and admired Chris –what happened? how could this be possible? why wasn’t he wearing his seat belt? why such an unexpected tragedy? The fact is that nobody knew.
In one single event, the passing of a dear family friend, God has shown me hope. Death is a final hope. The Lord revealed this final hope as He drew my attention to Revelations 6:9-11 where there will be a testifying of every soul concerning the “who, what, where, when, and why” of every death. You see, I now realize that God knows the ins and outs of every man’s death and He gives us the opportunity to live an abundant life even while we do not understand all of the details. What we see and hear in the local news, what we read in an obituary, and even what we know about how the person lived or died is not the final chapter. What is recorded in heaven is the final word.
“Where Is the Victory in Death?” Now I know. The victory is my confidence in Christ. He brought closure to my aversion of death and He can do the same for many others who are facing unforeseen calamity. Amidst the chaos, tragedies and disappointments of this world, I have chosen to place my faith in God. I live because Jesus died on the cross for me and that’s enough! Surely, we cannot handle the pain of death and tragedy alone; however we can handle it knowing that Christ picked it up and overcame it at the cross. And because He rose in victory, we, too, can share that victory. You see, there is victory in death!
Rev. Donita Edwards, Associate Minister & CLC Director
New Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church