As believers, we don’t have to grieve like the rest of the world. (1 Thess. 4:13) We know that because of Christ’s declaration that “it is finished”, we have the promise that the sting of death has been taken away. Because of this, we can rest in peace knowing that at the end of the book of the believer’s life, God has written: “to be continued.”
My kids love stories, and honestly, I would argue that we all do.
I remember around the age of ten, my dad would read a chapter of the Hardy Boys before bed. As my brothers and I listened, we would become engulfed in the story. However, as exciting as it was, there was always a quiet depression that would begin to set in upon realizing that the chapter was ending.
As we consider grief there are three points that we should consider:
- Realizing Grief Will Come
Many times, the experience of a loved one’s death will bring the same sense of Déjà vu as their story comes to an end. Since the fall, loss has become a continued reality. The scriptures explain that as the descendants of Adam, humanity longs to do whatever can be done to add to the story of life. In the book of Hebrews, the author explains this by saying, that because of the fall, all have been placed under the bondage of death and will do anything and everything to outrun it. (Heb. 2:15)
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God Never Makes a MistakeBy Vaneetha Rendall Risner — 1 year ago
My suffering had meaning. All of it. I was living God’s plan A. Embracing and understanding her words changed my perspective on life, giving me strength to press on through the darkest trials, looking for God’s hand, grateful that my pain had a divine purpose. God never makes a mistake. The phrase has shaped and reshaped my life and has anchored me through many storms.
God never makes a mistake.
I vividly remember those words, a chapter title in Evelyn Christenson’s book What Happens When Women Pray.
Honestly, when I first read them, I was cynical. They sounded trite and naive. I arrogantly assumed that the author hadn’t struggled much in her life, or else she wouldn’t have made such a bold claim. In my mind, God was good and all-powerful, but to say that he never made mistakes had sweeping implications that seemed inconsistent with the massive evil and suffering in the world. Christenson’s statement so annoyed me I was tempted to stop reading.
As I read her book, I had just been through the fallout of a marital crisis while also pregnant with our oldest daughter. I was grateful we had put our marriage back together, but to say that God didn’t make a mistake seemed far-fetched. My life had been difficult on many fronts already. I had lived in and out of the hospital after contracting polio as an infant. I had been bullied throughout grade school. I had recently suffered three miscarriages.
I had a hard time imagining that God hadn’t made a mistake somewhere in my trials.
All My Suffering?
While I struggled to believe he had never made a mistake, I did believe that God had been in at least some of my early suffering.
When I came to Christ, even at sixteen, I was already beginning to see God’s purpose in my disability. I had happened upon John 9, where Jesus tells his disciples that the blind man’s condition was not because of any sin, but so that his life could glorify God. When I read that, I knew that God was speaking directly to me. He reassured me that my suffering had a purpose, which changed how I viewed my life and my struggles.
Still, even though I had seen God use my physical challenges for good, I doubted that principle applied to all my suffering.
What God Says About Sovereignty
Despite my skepticism, since I was leading the discussion on Christenson’s book at church, I had to keep reading it. I pored over the Bible before our meeting, asking God for wisdom and guidance, and was drawn to passages on God’s sovereignty and purpose. I grabbed a concordance and made a list of Scriptures that stuck out to me, like these:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29–30)
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)
My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose. . . . I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. (Isaiah 46:10–11)
I kept rereading these verses even though they made no sense to me.
Truth I Could Not Shake
As the discussion began, everyone had an opinion on the same line that had arrested me: “God never makes a mistake.” Some people decidedly disagreed. It angered them. “Of course, hard things happen in the world,” they insisted, “but we shouldn’t attribute them to God.” Others shared their painful experiences and struggles with loss.
Lord of HostsBy William Boekestein — 7 months ago
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Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to GodBy J.B. Shurk — 1 year ago
Written by J.B. Shurk |
Saturday, March 12, 2022
If two years of pandemic tyranny have taught us anything, it is this: Governments should be terrified of infringing their citizens’ natural rights, not smugly self-assured that those rights can be watered down whenever expedient. Those who feel a duty to a higher power must also recognize a duty to rebel against the lowly, unscrupulous powers within our midst. And in the never-ending boxing match between “freedom” and “tyranny,” there is no time to rest on laurels, just as no victory can ever be celebrated as permanent.
Not so many years ago, few people in the West were speaking or writing about “freedom.” Although civil rights battles have existed in the United States for as long as there has been a united country, Americans for several decades have more or less consigned to the pages of history the great struggles pitting “freedom” against “tyranny.” Once the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Cold War came to an end, the hard-fought wars for liberty appeared won.
This misplaced confidence that freedom once obtained will remain secure without continuing sacrifice has been ruinous. As with any boxing match where one pugilist stops fighting while the other continues slugging away, friends of freedom have found themselves getting pummeled by growing State tyranny ever since. “Freedom” may have won the war but it certainly lost the peace.
Nowhere has this been more obvious than in the way the United States and its Western allies have responded to the COVID panic of the last two years. Almost immediately after government health authorities began furiously ringing emergency alarm bells, politicians just as furiously began stripping citizens of their protected rights.
The speed with which officials dispensed with the most basic building blocks of any free society—free speech, freedom of association, the rights to travel and earn a living according to free will—has been staggering. Censorship and the government’s “war on misinformation” have replaced discussion and debate. Government mandates have cataloged and controlled citizens’ movements. Government “permission” has become required to go back to school or work. The near-universal conclusion from presidents and prime ministers, congressmen and members of parliament, has been that rights and freedoms simply disappear when those in power decree it so. What a travesty!
As repugnant as Western governments’ responses have been to COVID, traditional friends of freedom have been equally disheartening. Civil rights groups have remained silent while the Bill of Rights is trampled, or worse, they have encouraged the government’s abusive tyranny as in the best interests of the “common good.”
Journalists have continued to prove their worthlessness in keeping government institutions in check by refusing to question, let alone investigate, the “facts” health agencies assert or the effectiveness of blunt force government-imposed “solutions.” The Globe and Mail has gone so far as to demonize the “ugly side of freedom” embraced by those who simply want the State to leave them alone.
And perhaps most disappointing of all, church leaders have, with few exceptions, abandoned their flocks by submitting to lockdowns and other unconstitutional bars against religious gatherings in the misguided belief that civil authorities must be unquestionably obeyed.
It has been clear that too many places of worship were unwilling to stand up for the natural rights delivered to us by the authority of a higher power when the authorities of so many mundane powers came knocking with billy clubs and harsh words. Fortunately, many people of faith have witnessed the tyranny of the last two years and will never forget what they’ve seen.