One year ago today, my husband got on a plane to go bury his best friend Dave. News of his death was shocking to the both of us. The day he died, we'd just gotten home from a Thrive "Family Feud" night which Robby had made the game board for and it went flawlessly! People had so much fun, we came home so happy, then Robby got a call from our friend Daniel. Robby said sadly, "Dave's dead". Our life hasn't been the same since. He left behind a wife and 3 young children. He was 31 years old.
Driving to Bakersfield last weekend, we were 1/4 mile away from a fatal crash. Sitting on a 2 lane California Highway, we saw a helicopter land on the street in front of us to airlift injured people to the hospital. One car swerved in front of the car coming in the opposite direction and was hit. An 81 year old man did not survive the crash. Death is real and it can happen at any moment.
A few weeks ago, Robby and I saw D.A. Carson speak on "Why does God allow suffering." I wanted to share some of what was discussed that evening because, none of us know when our death will happen. Carson in his opening statements said that "if you live long enough, you will suffer. If you don't, someone will be bereaved". Cancer, heart attack, car accident, losing a child, dying to a bullet... we all know someone who's gone through it or is going through it. The worst thing is to pretend the problem isn't there. CS Lewis said "100% of us will die." Grief is something we have to deal with in this life, it's sad and very emotional.
What do you think happens after we die? Genesis 3:19 says "For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return."
The reality of death can make people uneasy, people don't want to think about it's finality. The truth is, a man's soul will always be restless till he finds rest in God. Psalm 32:1 says "My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him." For me, I have peace about death, because my hope isn't in this life alone. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 says "we do not grieve like those who have no hope". Through Jesus Christ, we can live for eternity in heaven with Him. There's heaven to be gained and hell to fear.
Did you know that God suffers? His Son died on the Cross, carrying the burden of our sin so that we could be with God! We know too that Christ also suffered 1 Peter 2:24 "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed."
I know that there was a Creator God who made this earth. Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
Our kids had an art project due today which had them collect leaves of different colors. There are so many different shapes of leaves, different shades of leaves, looking at something so simple as leaves becomes so complex when you think about how those leaves came to be when we stop and look :) Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." ... "Be still, and know that I am God!" He wants us to look in awe at what He has made and give Him glory for it. Romans 1:25 "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen."
We won't have all the answers to all our questions, we can't see things from God's perspective this side of heaven, faith is required. We have faith knowing God is sovereign (in control, supreme authority) over everything. Hebrews 11:1, 3, 6 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
You need to be sure too that you have repented of your sins and have surrendered your life to Christ because we know "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME" Matthew 7:21-23.
Another thing that Carson mentioned is "dying well". A friend of theirs was slowly passing away over a period of months and through her suffering, people were praying for miracles, that she'd be healed, but we know sometimes it's not God's Will that all will be healed. Having peace with that and being able to help reconcile others to God is better than questioning "why me". Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12- that he suffered. He prayed 3 times for God to take away his "thorn in the flesh" but his affliction wasn't removed, instead God said "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul's response was "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
We all know in our hearts the undeniable truth, we can try to excuse it, come up with ways to doubt it or make up theories. Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them."
I don't know when Christ is going to return, I know it's been 2,000 years since he walked on this earth but the Bible says 1 Thessalonians 5:2 "for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" and it'll be too late to proclaim Him as Lord of your life. What are you waiting for? Psalm 39:4 "Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life."
We need faith, but we also need to turn from sin, repenting (a 180). 1 Peter 2:21 "For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps." Carson spoke about how people say "it's my cross to bear", which really was an honor, being counted worthy of suffering for Christ. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:16-18
I know that this isn't the last time we'll experience death and grief. This has been a tough year for us. Robby lost his best friend who was like a brother to him throughout High School and was the best man at our wedding.
I don't want to have regrets of not sharing the truth with people. I don't know when my life here on earth will end. Ephesians 5:16 says to "Make the most of every opportunity" If something I've written stirs something in your heart and you'd like to talk about it, please don't hesitate to call me. I'd love to discuss whatever is on your mind.
James 4:14 "you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
PS If you see Robby around, give him a big hug, a phone call, invite him out to lunch, you can be a great friend to him. His birthday is this coming Tuesday, November 23rd (it won't appear on your facebook pages) He'll be 31.
The photo is the last one of them taken together the last day we saw Dave alive.
Robby and Dave with their sons, Thanksgiving, 2008