Death is separation. Our small community is reeling with the news of five confirmed deaths because of a church van accident. A news source lists the driver of the vehicle, plus four-year-old girl, a mother and her two daughters among the dead. Several are in area hospitals. How do we deal with such loss? I have no pat answers. I do know they were involved in a dynamic church and God is in our midst.
The first family tasted the bitter pain of death. “Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him (Genesis 4:8b HCS).” Eve grieved; God had compassion. “Adam knew his wife intimately again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, for [she said,] “God has given me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him (Genesis 4:25 HCS).”
Abraham lost his precious Sarah. “Sarah died in Kiriath-arba [that is, Hebron] in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her (Genesis 23:2 HCS).” It is not a sign of weakness to grieve. Abraham lost his bride and Isaac mourned over mother. God sent comfort through a wife. “And Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s [death] (Genesis 24:67 HCS).”
Bethany sisters tried to find closure after the illness and death of their brother. “Then Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died (John 11:21 HCS). Jesus spoke of her brother’s resurrection and she proclaimed her belief in that future reality. (Verses 23-25) Mary, the other sister repeated Martha’s declaration. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died (John 11:32b HCS).” Jesus did not rebuke them, He wept. (Verse 35) He brought glory to the Father and proved He was the resurrection and the life. He called Lazarus from the grave! (Verse 43-44)
A widow walked the funeral march and met the Savior. “Just as He neared the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was also with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said, ‘Don’t cry.’ Then He came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And He said, ‘Young man, I tell you, get up!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother (Luke 7:12-15 HCS).”
The Bible reports many births and deaths. God miraculously restored life to a few, but they would one day pass on into eternity. We turn to Jesus and His word for comfort, strength and hope. He prepares a place in His Father’s house for His own. (John 14:1-2) He wants believers to be with Him. “If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also (John 14:3 HCS).”
God has a tender heart. “The death of his faithful ones is valuable in the Lord’s sight (Psalm 116:15 HCS).” He sent His Son to conquer death. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away (Revelation 20:4 HCS).” We grieve. We hope.