Week of June 17
The following is a one of 172 questions and answers from the new book, Max on Life.
The seven-year-old son of our neighbors died last week. They are devastated. So are we. What can we tell them?
God is a good God. We must begin here. Though we don’t understand his actions, we can trust his heart.
God does only what is good. But how can death be good? Some mourners don’t ask this question. When the quantity of years has outstripped the quality of years, we don’t ask how death can be good.
But the father of the dead teenager does. The widow of the young soldier does. The parents of a seven-year-old do. How could death be good?
Part of the answer may be found in Isaiah 57:1–2: “Good people are taken away, but no one understands. Those who do right are being taken away from evil and are given peace. Those who live as God wants find rest in death” (NCV).
Death is God’s way of taking people away from evil. From what kind of evil? An extended disease? An addiction? A dark season of rebellion? We don’t know. But we know that no person lives one day more or less than God intends. “All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old” (Ps. 139:16 NCV).
But her days here were so few . . .
His life was so brief . . .
To us it seems that way. We speak of a short life, but compared to eternity, who has a long one? A person’s days on earth may appear as a drop in the ocean. Yours and mine may seem like a thimbleful. But compared to the Pacific of eternity, even the years of Methuselah filled no more than a glass. James was not speaking just to the young when he said, “Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away”
(James 4:14 NCV).
In God’s plan every life is long enough and every death is timely. And though you and I might wish for a longer life, God knows better.
And—this is important—though you and I may wish a longer life for our loved ones, they don’t. Ironically, the first to accept God’s decision of death is the one who dies.
While we are shaking heads in disbelief, they are lifting hands in worship. While we are mourning at a grave, they are marveling at heaven. While we are questioning God, they are praising God.
MAX ON LIFE:
Answers and Insights to your Most Important Questions
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado