Life and/or Death

Who knew one root could have such a versatile application? The root in question is “grave”. It etymological tree-diagram runs the gamut of life and death with applications at either end of the spectrum. And in between.

From the womb

The word “gravid” means pregnant. You don’t really hear it anymore. To me, it epitomizes the phrase “heavy with child” better than simply “pregnant”. A gravid woman, huh? “My, she’s nine months along. She’s definitely ‘heavy with child’!”

“That’s what I said. Gravid.”

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) God of course speaking to Jeremiah. Really, it could apply to everyone whether prophet or no. God knows you. He knew you before you were conceived. And before you were a glimmer in anyone’s eye, you were a glimmer in His. Now that’s heavy.

“For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

Oh the gravity! Seriously. How do we come to terms, to grips, with this knowledge? The knowledge that God knew us before we were born and now, wants us to know Him? There is comfort in these verses, in spite of the serious nature of what it entails.

“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:16) God has your name written, carved into His palms. Not that He’d ever need reminding of you, as He’s thinking of you even as we speak. But just as an extra indication that you mean so much to Him, He’s going to record you where He’ll always see you. Like a tattoo, but deeper. On the very hands with which He used to both “form thee in the belly” and also even the ground on which you stand.

God’s love is like gravity. It keeps us grounded, keeps us going. “Being rooted and grounded in love.” says Paul to the Ephesians. (3:17)

To the tomb

“Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” (Psalm 73:23-25)

The grave. Our body’s final resting place. It’s a sobering thing to know that one day it will all end. Whether fire or ice, a whisper or a whimper, God has His hand on you. On His hand. On His mind. On His heart. Rest assured that “He which hath begun a good work will perfor it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

Yes, grave is a useful root, growing up into quite the multi-faceted family of words.

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2 thoughts on “Life and/or Death

  1. You know, I never cease to be amazed at your timing, as I am wrestling to understand death at this moment. Thank you for the reminder that we are in God’s hands, and on God’s hands. That’s beautiful. And pray, if you think of it, for a good friend of mine, who is going through great mourning.

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