From Death to Life

The only way to beat death, is life.”  

I’ve probably heard this type of analogy multiple times over the years. But it always amazes me how and when God chooses to make something finally hit home. I was watching New Amsterdam, a new medical series, with my husband. In it, the main character and his colleague were busy chatting after a hard day during which the reality of death was thick in the air. The main character has cancer and is struggling to come to grips with it, while his colleague is over 35 and trying to decide whether she should have a baby as a single woman. She tearfully mulls over their predicaments, then comes to this life-giving conclusion: 

The only way to beat death, is life.”  

This sentence hit me hard. My husband thought I had lost it as I burst into tears! In this very ‘secular’ show, I was reminded about how God’s blueprint runs through us all, how we so desperately crave it, even though most are completely unaware – or even in denial – of it. Then I thought about our current theme for the content we produce as a media organisation – joy in suffering. Both of these statements hold stark contrasts, something dark to something light. It’s a contrast that seems to be referred to over and over in Scripture, and even in a world that denies God’s existence.  


Death and life. Suffering and joy. Anxiety and peace. Destruction and restoration.  

One ruler gives death, suffering, anxiety, destruction and more. The other promises life, joy, peace, restoration, and so much goodness (John 12:31, Ephesians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 5:19.) 

What really hit me was how in all the darkness of this world, God has a much better answer. One that throws light at the shadows that threaten to envelop us. For all the death and darkness that looms around us, He provides the ultimate solution.  

And we crave it.  We hunger for this light in the darkness, seek it in everything. Whether it be spirituality, material possessions, a romantic relationship, having a baby, drugs, or anything that looks like it will fill that void.  

The Cross Brings Life 

The cross is His solution.  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

Jesus came to Earth to not only model how we can live free of sin and in love with God and each other, but He came to be the ultimate sacrifice. He was ridiculed, tempted, beaten, and destroyed. Yet through it all, He chose Love. He felt the weight of all our sin and suffering, crying out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). He knew of the evils of the world, He suffered greatly, yet He still turned away from temptation. He still sacrificed Himself. In His fully human body and mind, He still chose us.  

“The only way to beat death, is life.”  

As He took his last breath, He uttered “It is finished” (John 19:30) and victory over our sin, our suffering, our separation from God, and His wrath, had been won. His death bought us new life (John 5:24). When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, we die to our old (sinful) selves and we’re born again into the Kingdom of God – with His presence, guidance and love helping us through our earthly life.  

This doesn’t exempt us from hardship. But it does give us strength and joy despite it. He gives us the ability to continue, to love through it all, and to glorify His name. Because one day, when we take our last breath on Earth, we’ll join Jesus and the angels in heaven (Eph 2:6), declaring His glory – free of any suffering and hardship – for eternity.  

Choosing Life Despite Death  

Today, as we remember the life-giving sacrifice on the cross, and as we take an honest look at our world… let’s find ways to choose life. We will always face hardship, the enemy won’t let us live any other way, but let’s remember that Jesus overcame it all on the cross and that one day soon, we’ll join Him (Eph 2:6). 

Just as the two doctors in that hospital decided to move forward by choosing life in their dark, confusing situations, let’s choose life too. In every situation – hard or happy – choose life. My prayer for myself is to choose life when my suffering becomes consuming, I want to choose to focus on what gives me joy, what God has put in my life to be my joy. I want to choose to smile through the tears and laugh through the heartache. I know I can’t do it alone, that’s why I need God. 

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,” (Psalm 30:11) 

So, I say it again, in celebration of the sacrifice and victory on the cross:  

“The only way to beat death, is life.  

As a last thought: Jesus demonstrated the perfect act of sacrificial love and servant leadership. Our world, our nation, desperately needs both. As we walk through the rest of the year, ask yourself – what does God want me to sacrifice, and how am I serving those around me? I truly believe that as we sacrifice more of ourselves to love others and as we serve outside of our comfort zones, lives can change, worlds can change!  All for our freedom and God’s glory. 


Robyn Hattingh

Robyn is the Communications Manager at CBN South Africa in Cape Town. She has a passion for literature, sharing the truth, creation (the more mountains, the better) and relationships. Her novice tech skills have given her the drive to use digital media as a means to share knowledge about Jesus and His love for each of us!