By Anna Daub
The penultimate episode of WandaVision stunned viewers by the its gut-wrenching recap of Wanda’s trauma, loss and grief. So much sadness and pain. Then, in the middle of the episode, a simple scene unfolds where a despairing Wanda, sitting in her bedroom watching TV, discusses the loss of her brother with Vision.
Wanda discloses that she feels like her grief will drown her. When Vision insists she will not be overcome by it, she questions how he could possibly know that. He responds as only a sophisticated, sentient android could. He admits he has never loved enough to feel loss, but then offers a bright piece of hope that caught the attention of the Marvel fandom universe: “But what is grief, if not love persevering?”
Vision’s question may go down as one of the best lines of dialogue of the year, if not the decade. All-consuming grief occurs because we have lost that which we love. And the love perseveres, even long after the object of our affection is gone. However, that good love which perseveres is incredibly painful because it reminds us that we have indeed lost. And so the cycle continues.
Painful loss indeed exists in this sin-drenched and broken world. Christians, however, can find solace and hope in a greater persevering love than the one they lost. From a biblical perspective, Vision’s statement echoes something much deeper than grief alone. It points to a bigger story set in the hearts of all people, one in which death is unnatural and eternity is reality.
God’s Persevering Love
When God created the world, death was not part of the picture. God announced that everything he had created was good. Adam and Eve, humans made in his image, lived in perfect communion with God. There was no decay. No sin. No hurt. No pain. But in one decision to rebel against God, this goodness was shattered. And death, which God had warned would be the outcome of their rebellion, entered the world. It was unnatural. Men and women who were created to live forever with God now experienced separation from the Source of Life, as well as the brutal ugliness of decay, pain, sadness, loss and separation. Grief entered the world.
But God’s love persevered. Humanity’s relationship with him was fractured, but he himself made a way to restore it. In the midst of the brokenness and sadness, he sent his Son, Jesus, to redeem a broken world. The popular Christmas carol sums it up well: “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices!” A world, besieged by war and illness and death and loss rejoiced because one entered it who would make all things new.
Jesus lived the sinless life that no human could live. He then gave himself up willingly, taking our spot, our death, our discomfort and pain. He died an agonizing death on a cross, paying the penalty of sin for all who would follow him. In the midst of history’s darkness hour, when the King of the universe was slain for the sins, guilt, and shame of the world, God displayed his persevering love to all humanity.
But the story doesn’t end there. He was resurrected, asserting that death has been defeated. Paul triumphantly proclaims, “Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15: 54b-55). The Bible calls Jesus the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20 ESV). Just as he was raised, so those who follow him will be raised as well to new life and new creation.
The beautiful picture of this new creation is painted throughout the Scripture. Jesus will redeem people and creation. The world, which groans under the weight of sin and death, will be recreated. There will be no more sin, pain, grief or death. Jesus will wipe away our tears. We will live with him for eternity. And in the place of grief, we will forever sing of the King whose love persevered.