When a Christian dies an untimely death via accident or illness, especially if we viewed that individual as having strong faith, it feels like a punch in the gut. We ask, what went wrong? Why did they die? Where was God? When we don’t understand what happened after we prayed in faith and the person still died, our faith can be sorely shaken to the very core. That can affect our relationship with God and create a crisis in our faith.
I remember when I was at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma working on my Master’s Degree, and five people I knew died within five months. I was reeling. It shook my faith to the core. I had prayed for these individuals! These were mature Christians! What in the world happened!? But after I have reflected on similar situations that have happened since, God has given me a few insights which I’d like to share.
- God’s Word is infallible. If a person dies of an illness and is not healed on this side of glory, or if someone dies an untimely death due to an accident, it’s not because God failed in some way. God is still good no matter what. He is faithful, and He’s not a liar. If the unthinkable happened, there is something that we have failed to understand or recognize. The conclusion can’t be that God is somehow not Who He has said He is in His Word. Our Father is perfect and righteous regardless of what we experience in life, and we must trust Him. Until we come to that realization, we will have a difficult time healing and getting past our grief.
- We don’t know the total picture. God is omniscient and knows everything. In I Corinthians 4:5, Paul says, “Judge nothing before the time; wait till the Lord comes.” He warns us against judging circumstances when we do not know everything about them. Only God knows everything about a situation. We have no idea what is going on behind the scenes when someone dies. Therefore, we cannot make a judgment about what we perceive with our senses.
- We have to walk by faith. Paul said in II Corinthians 5:7, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” When we have to have an explanation as to why God allowed an untimely death, then we are walking by sight. When we blame God for a death and say that His Word does not work, we walk by sight. No matter what we see or experience, God’s Word is always true and the final authority in any situation. If we don’t understand something, we can’t make a judgment call about God’s character based on what we see. Again, to do so is to walk by sight.
- God owes us no explanations. He may or may not choose to explain Himself. He is sovereign. He is omnipotent. He is God. In the same way you refuse to explain everything you do to your children, the Lord reserves the right to withhold information and refuse to explain Himself as well. Just know that in spite of what happens in your life, He loves you and has your best interests at heart.
When a loved one passes away, it’s a difficult pill to swallow. Death is an event for which you can never really prepare. God in His sovereignty and grace knows exactly what He is doing and will help you to get through that painful experience. In my next blog post, I will give a few more thoughts on the topic of losing a Christian family member or friend. In the meantime if you are struggling with the death of your beloved, I am so sorry for your loss. May God heal your heart, grant you the peace that surpasses all understanding and the grace to trust Him without having to understand it all.
What insights has God given you as the result of the passing of a loved one? Please leave a comment below.
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