Monday, April 16, 2012


When I'm shaken with a tragedy it forces me to come to grips with what I really believe about God.  Sometimes I am not even aware that I've not been fully trusting and have instead been placing my security in other things.  There is a fine line between God's sovereign control and our part in how that turns out in our lives.  I am a firm believer in cause and effect, sowing and reaping, because it is a Biblical concept.  But man's free will and God's sovereignty has been the debate of the ages.  I'm not here to solve that puzzle.  And I'm okay with not fully understanding how these two concepts coincide.  The fact that my brain cannot fathom the union of these truths is further proof of God's superiority. 

But sometimes our response to difficult circumstances are expressed through blame and accusation as seen in Job's friends.  I believe they meant well, but confused by Job's loss, lashed out at him as their way of processing the unexplainable events which had happened.  When we see others suffer, we want explanations . . . resolution.  We are quick to make assumptions based on our perspective. 

I have no doubts in my mind that even before Sheri was born, God had 32 years planned out for her, to the day.  He knew that April 2nd would be her homecoming.  He even prepared us for that specific date.  The weeks and months before Sheri's death God orchestrated her schedule to say her goodbyes to the family, even though we didn't realize they were goodbyes.  I sense this as God's tender touch towards us.  God knew her time was coming.  And God knew we needed those moments with her. 

Perhaps the most profound, was that her death was timed precisely such that her memorial services would be over Easter weekend.  I believe this to be no accident, and was also the tender touch of God, giving us encouragement and hope.  Yet there are still some who would "shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right." (Psa. 11:2) My heart goes out to those who accuse.  They do not even realize that is what they are doing; they are simply responding to their pain, wanting resolution.

But those who cast blame may not be aware that these statements display a lack of faith in God's sovereignty.  Do we really believe that "the LORD is in His holy Temple; the LORD still rules from heaven."? (Psa. 11:4)  How then can you say to me, "flee like a bird to the mountains for safety!" (Psa. 11:1)  No, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  He will stand beside us and be our Rock of protection, our strong tower against the foe.  God means Sheri's death for good . . . it already has been and will continue to do so.

After the resurrection, two disciples of Jesus were walking along the road to Emmaus.   Jesus appeared among them, but they did not recognize Him. The Scriptures tell us, "we had hoped..." (Luke 24:21)  They had expectations which were crushed.  The similarities to the events of the past week are striking.  We had hoped for so many more days with Sheri.  What joy it would have been to see her and Jasper as new parents.  What fellowship we anticipated.  But it was all disappointed with her death . . . shocking disappointment.  Now we know how these two disciples of Jesus felt.

When the disciples got to Jerusalem and realized it was Jesus they'd been talking to, they were amazed and said, "did not our hearts burn within us as we were talking on the road?" (Luke 24:32) Jesus Himself had been speaking with them!  Likewise, this disappointment of our expectations has drawn us into the presence of Jesus like none other.  We have tread on holy ground.  Jesus is calling our name.  He is reaching out to us in a special way, grabbing our attention, because He wants to reveal Himself to us!  Wow!  That thought amazes me.  Really?  Jesus would desire to draw near to us with such intensity? Yes, for He would not leave us stagnant or let us down.  He wants to show us something.  He wants us to see Him and to know His presence in a very real way.

In my continued study on the book of Ruth I cannot help but see the parallel of this past week with her story.  And it makes me excited.  If God had such good things in store for Ruth after the death of her husband, then what things might God have planned for my brother!  Is this only the beginning of His blessings on Jasper's life?  And ours?  But if Ruth had chosen the road of bitterness, regressing into the past, I'm not sure she ever would have seen the glorious future God had in mind for her.  Naomi and Ruth together started down the road that led to Bethlehem.  And together we can join with Jasper and choose the road of God's sovereignty and will in taking Sheri at this time, and believe that "all the days ordained for [her] were given before one of them came to be." (Psa. 139:16)  Surely, our days are numbered and none of us knows how many we will be given. 

I know, this is all easier for me to say because I'm not as close to the pain as some.  But we are, after all, only aliens and strangers in this land.  How deep have we set our roots into this earth?  I hope I'm not getting too attached to my agenda, my deadlines, my stuff, my plans, because when I meet God face to face, the primary thing that will matter is my relationship with Him.  Some view Sheri's death as a tragedy.  And I would not deny that from a human perspective, it is.  But Sheri is in the presence of God.  This is what we are made for and what we all long for.  Those who die without the life of God within, without Christ . . . that is tragedy.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. May we bodly reach out to those who have a true tragedy unknowingly in their life of an eterinty separated from God.