Death is often a sudden disruption in our lives. When sudden death claims the life of someone close to us, the natural human response is to blame God and ask, “Why?” I lost my mother, my father, my son, and several relatives and close friends to death, so I know what it feels like to lose a loved one. If you have lost a loved one to death and you are now questioning God, then this blog is for you.
In a small village in Bethany, two sisters had a brother named Lazarus who fell gravely sick. They were all friends of Jesus. The sisters sent word to Jesus, asking Him to come to their house to heal their brother. But when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where he was for two more days. Later, He told His disciples that their friend Lazarus had fallen to sleep, and He was going to Bethany to wake him up. However, when they arrived, Lazarus was dead, and he had already been in the tomb for four days. Upon Jesus’ arrival at the house, Martha and Mary said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw Lazarus’ sister, Mary weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. When they took Him to the grave, Jesus wept (John 11:1-35).
Jesus wept. Think about that for a moment. Throughout the gospels, this is the only recorded time of Jesus weeping. Jesus was God in human form, yet He cried. He cried when He saw Mary cry. Jesus felt her pain. “The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die.” (Psalm 116:15 NLT). God is love (1 John 4:16) and He loves us. God is sad when we die. But if God does not take our loved ones, why do they die?
The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away
It has been said that the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away – at least that’s what a lot of people say, but is that in the Bible? Well, it is. It seems this quote had its beginnings in Job 1:21. The King James Version of the Bible reads, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.”
This is a classic example of misunderstanding and misquoting scripture. In doing so, we misjudge the character of God. Just because something is in the Bible does not mean that God said it. I have learned that you cannot judge the character of God from a few verses. That would be like taking one sentence from a book and formulating a conclusion about the entire book.
The Book of Job begins by describing Job’s character. God’s servant Job was a God-fearing man who shunned evil. The Bible goes on to say that Job had lots of children and lots of possessions. But in verse 6, the devil showed up, doing what he does best – starting trouble.
He attacked Job’s character, telling God that Job only serves Him because He has blessed him and protected his possessions. “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has,” said Satan, “and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
And the Lord gave Satan permission to take all that Job had, but He told Satan, “Do not harm him.” So, Satan left the presence of the Lord.
The Reason Behind Your Loss
God did not stretch out His hand against Job. The Lord permitted Satan to take Job’s possessions. However, He told Satan not to take his life So, Satan departed from the presence of the Lord to attack Job with destruction. His goal was to make Job curse God.
Satan was relentless in his attack. Job’s children were partying at the oldest son’s house and their servants were plowing in the field next to the house when the Sabeans attacked them, killed the servants, and took their oxen and donkeys. Then lightning struck the field where Job’s servants were grazing the sheep and killed them all. Immediately afterward, the Chaldeans attacked Job’s Camel keepers, killed them, and took his camels. Not long after that, a cyclone descended upon the house where Job’s children were partying and everyone in the house died.
When Job heard this, he got up, tore his robe, and shaved his head; he fell to the ground and worshiped, saying, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Satan wanted Job to curse God. He even influenced Job’s wife to encourage Job to curse God. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Why don’t you curse God and die!” Nonetheless, Job held to his integrity. He said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.”
Why People Die
Death entered the world through sin. When asked to define sin, most Christians will say sin is the transgression of the law. The Bible teaches that sin entered the world through one man – Adam (Romans 5:12). The law was given through Moses (John 1:17), but Adam lived before Moses – before God had given the law. So how did Adam sin if there was no law?
The Bible defines sin as disobedience (Romans 5:19). Adam was disobedient. He disobeyed God’s only command.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.Genesis 2:16-17
As Adam’s children, we inherited our sinful nature from him. Death is the result of sin – not because we sin, but because we are sinners. Infants die; did they sin? No; infants because like us, they are born with a sinful nature.
Victory Over Death
I began this blog article by saying, “Death is often a sudden disruption in our lives.” The Bible teaches us that death is our last enemy, and God will destroy it” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Hallelujah! God has given us victory over death.
This victory gives us hope that we will see our loved ones again. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
This will happen in the rapture. For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
The next time you think of that loved one whom the devil abruptly snatched from you in death, don’t blame God. Don’t allow your suffering to bring accusations against God. Change your view of God and thank Him for His love. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Your loved one will live again.