For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15)
As a kid, a lot of my summer evenings were spent playing Kick the Can. Do you remember playing that game? Nobody wanted to be “It.” “It” had to hunt everyone down. Anyone who wasn’t “It” eluded “It.” When “It” caught up with you, you had to stand and wait for the game to end or hope someone would come to free you.
With the kick of the can we would all scatter. In a cloud of dust, I would bolt for a hiding place. In one game, I went streaking around the corner of a house; the fading sun revealed a nearly perfect circle hollowed out around the base of the bamboo-like Jack-in-the-Beanstock. The hole was just the right size to hide a 12 year old boy. I remember thinking “It” would never find me there. I dove in.
Within seconds, my bare arms, legs, and neck began throbbing with pain. I was covered with bees! I don’t remember how many stings I got, but I do remember looking over my shoulder at the new hole in the beanstock -- in the shape of a 12 year old boy!
I surrendered to “It,” abandoned the game, and headed for my house. When I got there, my mother came to the rescue. She concocted a plaster out of baking soda and water and covered all the stings. The next evening the sting was gone -- I was back in the game.
The apostle Paul reminds us that when death comes “It” stings. But as we pass through death, God removes the sting. God moves us to a place of victory; we go to a place where there will be no more stings -- we are rescued. Never again will we have to face “It!”