By Marni Montanez
New King James Version (NKJV)
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment
In this verse I am going to focus on just the part about death and leave the judgment part of this scripture for another time.
Losing a loved one is the most horrific pain one can go through. Whether it's a family member, a friend, a pet or even the loss of valuable items that hold memories this kind of pain takes us to a depth of ourselves we would not otherwise go.
We wrestle with the whys and what ifs and blame a God who is all powerful and could prevent such tragedies. It is hard to imagine why a loving God would hold back His mighty hand that could prevent the death of those we love. Why didn’t God prevent the brutal torture and death of His own Son, Jesus? He didn’t stop the death of Jesus for the greater good.
I have lost many family members and had to revisit those questions that caused me to feel angry and betrayed. It is difficult to understand death with our finite little minds, and to accept death is even harder.
It is well known that death was introduced when sin entered the world. Just as God gave plants for Adam and Eve to eat in the Garden of Eden, it wasn’t until after the fall of man when people started using animals as food. This is the same as death. From the beginning God did not speak of death. The Garden of Eden was eternal. But God gave human beings free will and in that allowed us to make our own decisions whether they were good healthy ones or decisions that led to destruction; whether ours or someone else’s.
In this verse it is very clear that death is a one-time thing. In some versions the word there is destined.
It is also stated that God wants us to have long life that is filled with abundance. That is His will for us. Then why doesn’t that happen?
We each have an appointment with death, but the bible does not tell us “when" that appointed time is for each of us and in the absence of that information we fill it in with our own ideas of when we think death should come; Pretty much never. It certainly shouldn't be as babies or those we think are living lives that contribute to society.
We stand guard over our own agendas about the timing of death and we want it to be God's timing also. In fact we want that so much we get angry when it does come even though we all know it is inevitable. We expect for death to come when it is convenient, but is that realistic? In fact if we were in control of when our loved ones die that imaginary time would never come. Who among us can decide when someone should die or live? The Psalmist speaks of God knowing all the days ordained for him. God knows when we will die. It doesn’t mean He caused it and it doesn’t mean He wanted it. Every situation is individual in and of itself. And even though He has the power to stop a death, He also has the wisdom and insight to know when He cannot.
For a compassionate and merciful God this is difficult; because He knows that the lives of those left behind will shatter into pieces and in some cases never regain their joy or hope.
We blame God because that is convenient and yet there are so many varying reasons that caused someone’s death. We have a real enemy. One who looks for opportunities to kill, steal and destroy us. Notice that the first word here is to kill. This is our adversaries plan above all. He wants us dead and gone and out of his way. He uses people, situations and our own decisions to achieve his goal. Why don’t we blame him? There are people out doing what they want when they want which leads to sickness, accidents, and murder. Why don’t we blame people? We want to do to live our lives in the way that pleases us and not suffer any consequences. There are so many reasons for people dying that to answer with one answer would not do justice.
Death makes us as humans, feel helpless. We can’t prevent death and we get angry about that. It doesn’t align with our plan and never will. I don’t know anyone who has made summer vacation plans and scheduled in the death of a loved one. We subconsciously live on as if death will not come until we or someone we love has a fatal illness and then that is the time we face it head on. We have to. Otherwise we go about our business without a thought about someone around us dying.
There isn’t just a single reason for death, but there is one God who knows each individual case. There are scenarios for each account and to try to run through them would be in vain. God knows the when and most importantly the why. And He also knows that even if He did explain it to us, we would not understand and if we understood how many of us would accept that explanation? We are not angry because we don't understand why; we are angry because we are weak and vulnerable and have no choice but to submit to something out of our control. Our anger toward God is about regaining some of that control. We have no control over anyone's life; not even our own.
Yes, God allows things to happen.
No, the death of those we love never feels good and in the moment of grieving we certainly don't care about what good it will bring.
This is a tender subject and we each have to grieve our own way. So be angry if you need to be and lash out at God if you need to. God will still be there waiting to embrace you in this dark hour.