Jump Start # 2491
Hebrews 9:27 “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment”
It’s a very odd question, but a fair question. We usually are asked the opposite side of this question, and either side is hard to understand and harder still to explain. A person wonders why are they still here. After multiple health issues, they continue on. Why doesn’t God allow that person to die? I’ve been asked this by folks who are in their 90’s. They ask, “Why am I still here?”
Often, we deal with the other side of this question, “Why did God allow someone I love to die?” This side is asking, “Why doesn’t God take this person?” Any answer we give is pretty much a guess. Outside of certain passages we cannot try to think like God, because it is just beyond us. We see things from our perspective, not Heaven’s. We see things from our little spot in the universe and as the song goes, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
Let me throw out a few suggestions, and, that’s all they are. I cannot say for sure. I’m not good at standing in the shoes of God. These ideas may be totally off. But here we go:
First, God has an appointed time. That’s what our verse today says. It may simply not that person’s time. We may see someone suffering and wonder why do they linger? I thought that with my mother. We even prayed that the Lord would take her. There are times when there is no quality of life. There are times when a person is in a vegetative state, or a comma. Yet, they linger. It is hard on the family. It gets to a point where one realizes that a person will never be back to their normal state again. Why? Simply put, it’s just not the right time.
Second, possibly, the continuation of someone’s life may be the patience of God hoping that person will obey the Lord and become a disciple. This concept and idea is tied into the final coming of Jesus. Peter says consider the patience of the Lord to be salvation. He also said in that setting that God doesn’t want any to perish. Maybe the nearness of death opens one’s eyes to what the Scriptures teach and even to give thought about eternity and Heaven and Hell. Once a person has passed through the doorway of death, nothing more can be done.
Third, maybe, just maybe, God is trying to teach the family who is caring for the dying patient some lessons. We tend to think less of ourselves and more about others in those settings. Maybe it’s a time for family members to come together and be one. Seeing someone so close to death often makes us wonder about our own life. What matters and what is important often gets jumbled up when we are on the run and have full health. But watching someone so close to death, has a way of making us look inward. Character, heart, faith, love—those are the things that seem to matter.
Fourth, most assuredly, we simply do not know. We want to know. We can even think that God needs to tell us. We may shout to Heaven, “Why?” But God doesn’t answer to us. He doesn’t work for us. He is God. What He does is not accountable to us. He is holy. He is always right. And, it’s in those dark, unknown times of life, often traveling through the valley of death, as Psalms 23 talks about, that we must simply trust God. We want to know, but we don’t. God has a way of working things for His good. Even out of tragedies and sorrows, God has a way of helping people and molding lives for Him. The Psalmist in that 23rd Psalms, knew that he was not alone. Even in those dark valleys God was with him. But, understand, he had been following God before the valleys. God had led him. God had cared for him. There was a long relationship of trust in the Lord. This didn’t all begin in the valley of the shadow of death. If this is where our faith begins, it will begin with darkness, doubt and fear. The shepherd had taken this one to green pastures and quiet waters. There was reasons to trust God. There was a history with God. Too many want to live as if God doesn’t exist. Then, when there is a crisis, they are crying out “Where are you, God?” He’s always been there. He’s been wanting us to follow Him, trust Him and obey Him. But those dark valleys have a way of really grabbing our attention. Now, nothing else matters. Now, no one else can help. Now, we are in real need. God is there. But, will we trust Him? Will we trust Him now, when we haven’t really trusted Him before?
Let God lead you through the Scriptures to green pastures, quiet waters and even tables with your enemies. Building a life of trust in God, allows you to see the goodness, kindness and mercy of God.
It is a mystery of life why some die young and some die old. It’s a mystery why some die quickly and others die slowly. There are things that you and I just are not in the position to understand.
There is a hymn we sing, “Hold to God’s unchanging hand…”
That always helps!