Seven deaths. Seven deaths in two weeks.
My husband and I are pastors, and in the last two weeks alone, we’ve experienced seven deaths around us. Five church members and two in the lives of friends.
That’s a lot of funerals. That’s a lot of sadness. Even for an emotionally and spiritually strong person, that’s a hard pill to swallow. Performing five funerals in two weeks. Comforting families (and yourself) on the loss of dear loved ones and friends. It can take a toll, and we’re thankful for the support and prayers of so many.
And this morning, as I prepare to attend two funerals today, I realize that facing death does a lot of things in a person. We’ve hugged our family a lot more lately. We appreciate the fragile-ness of life and the brevity of it more than ever before.
And we ask questions. Why? Why did this happen? Why so soon? Why now? Where was the miracle?
These questions usually come with anger and bitterness and doubt and pain. And rightfully so. God made us emotional creatures on purpose, and when we lose someone we love, we hurt. We question. We feel deeply and we cry. A lot.
And we have a choice to make. All of those emotions can lead us down different paths. They can drive us deeper into the arms of a loving Father, or they can push us away, and the enemy would like nothing more than to take our faith as collateral damage in the situation.
The decision is ours.
Do we trust Him or not?
As pastors, we don’t have all the answers. That’s the hard part. We ask the same questions. Sunday morning after hearing that a dear friend and church member slipped into eternity a few hours earlier, I stood in the back of our sanctuary during pre-service prayer and asked questions myself, “Lord, why did Mikel get his miracle last year but our friend didn’t?”
The short answer is this….we don’t know.
But we do know this: On our best day, God is with us. On the worst day of our lives, He won’t let go. We are never alone.
No matter what we face, He will walk us through. And when we don’t understand, we have to go back to what we do know (the Word of God), see what it says, hold on to it for dear life, and dare to trust Him.
His love for us goes beyond anything we face. Beyond the darkness we’re walking through. It goes beyond our pain and fears and doubts. When life is good and when it just plain sucks, God is still good and His love is still there and He can be trusted when it doesn’t make sense.
Don’t run away from Him. He’s not afraid of your questions. He holds the comfort and peace your weary, battle-worn soul longs for. Run to Him. Put on a worship CD. Open the Bible. Cry out, “Jesus!” He’s waiting for you.