When my wife passed away, one word filled my mind constantly: why. Why do people die? Why did she have to die so young? Why didn’t God heal her as we had prayed so many times? Why? Why? WHY?
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, or are about to, I’m sure that word has crossed your mind a time or two. In this article, I will try to share with you what I have learned over the past four years that I’ve spent as a widower. If you’re looking for intellectual satisfaction to the question of why, I doubt you’ll find it here or anywhere else. Still, I believe that there may be some information that will help.
THE BIBLICAL ANSWER
As a life-long Christian, I knew that death entered the world through the sin of Adam and Eve (1 Corinthians 15:21), but that didn’t seem to ease the hurt. On an intellectual level, I understood that Adam and Eve sinned and that the “wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) but that knowledge was bringing little comfort. I wanted to know why my Cindy had to die at only 54 years old. Why was she being punished for Adam’s transgression? If God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat of that tree, why was it in the Garden? Was this just some sort of cruel joke? Was all of this some sort of game to the Creator of the universe? Were we all just pawns in His sick game so that He could get his jollies?
As you might be able to tell, the more questions I asked, the angrier I became. I never stopped believing in God, but my trust in Him was definitely shaken.
GOD SHOULD DO THINGS MY WAY!
As my questions became more numerous, and my anger became stronger and less easily controlled, I reached out to my friend and pastor Reverend Pat Malone. Pastor Malone is one of my dearest friends and confidants and he has helped me through more than a few rough patches. If anyone could help me make sense of all of this, it was him. Over the course of an hour or so, I laid out my questions and Pat, in his trademark gentle, Southern charm, did his very best to give me Biblical answers and practical applications. Unfortunately, the more we talked, the angrier I got.
Finally, I blurted out, “Why did God have to put that blasted tree in the garden?”
Pastor Malone replied, “Would you have had Him put it someplace else?”
“Yes!” I screamed, not angry with my pastor, but boiling with anger towards God and the entire situation. “Absolutely, yes!”
My conversation with Pastor Malone ended soon after that outburst. The man had tried his best, but I was not ready to not be mad. No words he could say could change that. I needed to be angry for a little while.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED SINCE THEN
Over the past four years, I have searched diligently for answers. At one point, I put aside everything I thought I knew about faith and started looking anew. There had to be something out there to help me, but where was it.
As I started studying sacred scripture with “new” eyes, I came to understand some hard truths.
- God alone has the prerogative of life and death. God is the creator, we are the creation. As much as we, in our human pride, may not like to acknowledge that fact, it’s the truth. God reminded Job of this fact when Job questioned God. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?” (Job 38:4).
- God’s decision to call Cindy home was based on His sovereign grace and mercy, not on injustice. God saw that Cindy had put her trust in Him and that she was tired. He called her home to paradise. Yes, she had many things left that she wanted to accomplish in this world, but I’m sure that they pale in comparison to what she is experiencing in Heaven.
- In my trials as a widower, despite all of my anger and protestations, I came to realize that God was giving me a two-word message: “Trust Me.” In our times of peace and prosperity, it’s very easy to forget just how much we need God. We think we have everything under control and that we can do it all. It’s only in those times when we are put under trials that we focus on how inadequate we, in our humanity, are for the cause and how much we need the almighty God. Once I put my trust in my God, my anger started to subside and my peace grew exponentially.
- God wants us to lift our pain to Him as a sacrifice. I knew that the pain was going to eat me up if I didn’t do something with it, so I lifted it up to the Lord. He was faithful to take it and grant me His peace.
As I told you in the very beginning, you weren’t likely to get intellectual fulfillment from this article and, if you’re still at the stage where you’re not ready to not be angry, this piece may have only increased the flame, but I hope there is something here that, when the time is right, you can reflect on that will lead you to the peace of God.
May God bless you richly.
Recommended Resources – Affiliate Link