Her email popped up in my inbox at 2:48am.
“I can’t seem to put my trust into the one who took away someone so precious to me…”
As a preacher’s kid, Lora had attended church services nearly every Sunday for seventeen years. The time she felt closest to God was on a trip she took to New Orleans with her church.
When you see people experiencing devastation, it changes you.
It puts your perspective to the test, confronting the days you have left and what you’re going to do with them.
“I got back into town and three weeks later my mom suddenly died of a brain aneurysm…”
When YOU are the one experiencing devastation, it changes you.
It puts your worldview to the test, confronting the beliefs you have left and what you’re going to do with them.
“Those two days my mom was on life support, I stormed the heavens, asking for a miracle. When she died, I lost all faith in God…”
One year went by.
“I’m wondering if you could tell me where a good starting point would be, seeing that I’m basically starting from scratch…”
A few days after receiving her email, we met at a coffee shop.
“Why did God kill my mom?”
“What have people told you?”
“That his ways are higher than ours.” “That I just need to trust him.”
“How do these comments sit with you?”
“They’re just nice ways of saying God killed her.” “Do you believe her death was God’s will?”
“Your mom’s death was definitely NOT God’s will.”
“How can you presume to know what God’s will ISN’T?”
“How can you presume to know what God’s will IS?”
“It’s just that you’re the first person to ever say that to me.”
I opened my Bible to Ezekiel and slid it across the table.
“‘I don’t want anyone to die,’ declares the Almighty LORD…”
“I don’t get it. Since my mom DID die, does this mean God doesn’t always get what he wants?”
“Same thing in 2 Peter 3:9. It says God is, ‘not wanting anyone to perish.’ In fact, there are verses all over the Bible that speak of things going on in the world that God wouldn’t wish upon anyone.”
“All my life I’ve been taught that everything happens according to God’s will.” “Wouldn’t that include death?”
Three Reasons To Believe Death Isn’t God’s Will
Here are three words I scribbled on Lora’s napkin: “Beginning,” “Middle,” and “End.”
1. THE BEGINNING Proves Death Isn’t God’s Will
The purpose of life was to live in friendship with God, in which love was mutual. But in order for this kind of life to be chosen, the choice of death had to be made possible as well.
So God gave Adam and Eve free will in the form a tree God instructed them not to eat from. The consequence of rebellion was death.
They decided to eat from the tree and were banished from Paradise. Eventually, they died. And their descendants have been dying ever since.
Thus, in the beginning, death is traced back to the will of man, not the will of God.
If God didn’t want Adam and Eve to die…I have to believe he didn’t want Lora’s mom to die either.
2. THE MIDDLE Proves Death Isn’t God’s Will
By “Middle,” I mean life as we know it, after Adam and Eve rebelled, and before the second coming of Christ.
I love John 14:9, where Jesus says, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”
- When we see Jesus loving tax collectors and prostitutes: That’s whom God loves.
- When we see Jesus opposing the religious hypocrites: That’s whom God opposes.
- When we see Jesus battling the oppression of Satan: That’s whom God battles.
- When we see Jesus care for the poor: That’s how God cares.
- And when we see Jesus grieving over the death of Lazarus: That’s how God grieves.
Thus, if Jesus wept when Lazarus died…I have to believe God wept when Lora’s mom died.
3. THE END Proves Death Isn’t God’s Will
Revelation 21:1-7 gives us a glimpse into the future:
- New heavens.
- New earth.
- New city.
- God living among his people.
- No death.
- No crying.
- No pain.
- Everything new.
All made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Thus, if LIFE with God is what God wills from beginning to end…I have to believe that LIFE with Lora’s mom was God’s will from beginning to end.
After one year of running from God, I’m so glad Lora came to our church the first week of college.
Even more, I’m glad she kept coming.
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Image by: Intention