God, not Death, Will Take Us - The Warrior's Journey®

God, not Death, Will Take Us

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. … But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.”  (Luke 21:16-19) 

“Some of you they will put to death … but not a hair of your head will perish.” Well, which is it? Am I going to be put to death or will I be so closely guarded that not a hair of my head will perish? How do we harmonize these conflicting statements? 

Perhaps another Bible passage can shed some light on this puzzling passage. When Jesus had earlier sent forth the Twelve to preach, He said something very similar to them.  “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:28-31). Being martyred is coupled with God’s extreme care for them. 

And that is the key to understanding Luke 21:16-18.  God’s tender love and care for us is so extreme that He closely guards every hair of our head – even in the presence of death. King David wrote in Psalm 139:17-18 that God’s thoughts of us outnumber the grains of sand on all the beaches and in all the deserts. God’s infinite mind, love, power, and presence are all continuously at work to safeguard every beat of our heart and every cell of our body – all 37.5 trillion of them.  And even when death comes – for that is inevitable, it is only by God’s loving and wise will.   

But it goes far deeper than that. For Paul the apostle declared that Jesus removed the sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). And Jesus said something even more radical. “Whoever is alive and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26: 8:51). He said this in the face of Lazarus’ physical death. Is it possible that Jesus and Paul were actually saying that God sweeps away the souls of His redeemed the moment before the axe, the sword, the fire, the noose, or the bullet actually kills their bodies? For if God so carefully guards the hairs of our head – which have no feeling, then how much more will he do so for our souls – which do?  It is God – not death – that releases our souls from our sin-corrupted bodies and carries us up into heaven.   

If you are a Soldier who believes in Jesus, do not fear the bullet that flies by day, nor the IED that destroys by night. God stands ready to sweep you away from death’s sting. 


  • Are you in physical danger every day? Does death seem certain to touch you? 
  • Hebrews 2:9 says that Jesus tasted death for everyone. Why not trust Him to sweep you away before death’s sting and terror can touch you? 
  • Let’s trust in God’s power and love to shield us or catch us away to heaven. 

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