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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Let God Be God

by Pastor Mark Taylor

“…Let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:4)

I have been working with families a lot on the loss of their loved ones.  Some have been young children, teenagers, and others have been middle aged men and women. I have been involved in the funerals and counseling of their loved ones who leave planet Earth to enter eternity.  It is never easy to say goodbye to those we love, young or old.  In the message below, I would like to give you a Biblical perspective of life after death.

The average life expectancy, according to the Social Security Administration, of a man who reaches the age of 65 lives to be 84.3 and a woman on average to an age of 86.6.  In contrast many of the African countries have average life expectancies in the lower 50’s.  Many die younger because of floods, famines, and disease.  They do not have the medical resources or economic ability to extend their lives.

I have heard from both atheists and devoted believers the same question.   That question can be reduced to one word, which is “Why?”  I have heard it phrased as “If God is a God of love, how could He let my loved one die?”  Or “How can the Christian God allow so much suffering and pain in the world?”  These people are believing a lie about a God who loves them.

Many people have attempted to answer this question of “Why?” from a theological viewpoint, while others have blamed God and have chosen to denied His existence.   Even though I have read many Christian books offering explanations, I have yet to find a simple answer to provide for a family member at the death of their loved one.  There are certainly no answers outside of a God who loves us - regardless of the inability to answer the question "Why?".

If you have chosen to turn away from believing in a loving God, there is little written that can help you.  This is a sad fact because without communicating with Him, you will never find comfort or understanding.  The only true answers will come from the Word of God, The Bible.  If you do not believe or accept the truth of the Bible, then you will never find any spiritual answers to your questions.  “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14).

While comfort and peace can only come from the Holy Spirit, He can use God’s Word to give some meaning to our loss.  But let me say this to those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior, that there are either answers or there is grace to accept the unknown.  In this writing I hope to offer you hope in your loss.  It is probably not anything that someone else has not already said, but it is my attempt at giving you a Biblical perspective of life and death and eternity.

First of all let us examine the truth about “death” and who causes it.  I have heard good Christians ask questions like “ Why did God take my husband (child, parent, etc.)”.  It is very easy to blame God for everything bad and give Him little credit for what is good.  

Could it be possible that other things could have caused death?  Let us at least consider  two possibilities of what God’s Word says.

“The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy.  I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).  Could death be coming from Satan?

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection o the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”  (I Corinthians 15: 21-22)  Could death be coming from sin we inherited from Adam?  If so, we can also inherit eternal life from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Secondly, let us examine the brevity of this life on Earth. Today I am 70 years old.  But it seems like it was only a short time ago I was a young man full of energy and goals.  I am sure most people my age and older see life going by very quickly.  God’s Word has something to say about how short our life is:

“…For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away…” (James 4:14).

Finally, God has a plan for our future.  It is not just about living to be a 100 or longer in this life. To be with God is where all of God’s children will be at some point.  All the people Jesus healed and raised from the dead, left Earth at death and are now with our Lord Jesus in Heaven.  Healing here is just temporary at best.

“Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.”  ( Revelation 21:3-4).

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”  (Psalm 116:15).

But  God’s view of “death” is not the same as ours.  We do not “lose” our loved ones.  They are just moving from one location to another. Would we feel we had lost them if they moved to another town?   When people leave here they move to His house.  Our Lord said these words: 

‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”  (Matthew 22:32)

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that whereI am, there you may be also.”  (John 14: 1-3).

As you are going through your grief, remember that there is a God of love Who has all the answers for you waiting in Heaven.  Even that hard one “Why?”.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9).

Let God be God and trust Him for the safety of your loved one who is in Heaven today.  Don’t believe the skeptics who have no answers or no hope.  Think about your future from God’s viewpoint: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11).  That future is to be reunited with your loved ones in Heaven.