First Person Life

2006-01-14

For the Families of those who died...

NOTE: This was first drafted 1/4/2006. Few modifications have been made since the original draft, and it should not have taken this long for the post to be completed. The words here apply equally to those who grieve whether the families of the miners in Virginia or the families of those who died near Mecca this week.

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As I consider the unfolding of the events for the families in W. Virginia, I'm forced to think about how I would handle the situation if I were a pastor (or Vicar) in that community (or any community faced with an unexpected disaster-- tsunami, hurricane, tornado, riots, whatever). Some of my thoughts appear below.

First, I would need to come to grips with the reality of the situation and put it in a biblical perspective. The world's messed up. Things aren't what they were created to be. When sin entered the world, it had an effect on everything in creation. Ultimately, these things happen because of sin.

Because of sin, our loved ones get ripped away from us -- sometimes expectedly sometimes unexpectedly -- either way it's "unnatural" from the way things were created to be.

Because of sin, people make mistakes -- sometimes blinded by passions, sometimes blinded by pride, sometimes out of sheer ignorance or even incompetence.

Because of sin, the weather patterns are screwed up -- rain, snow, sleet, ice, storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados -- all are a byproduct of the fall.

Because of sin, the universe seems chaotic and cruel -- we can't see what's "really" going on, because we're blind to the spiritual realities of the universe -- because of sin.

Having firmly established the cause in my own mind, I'm guessing next comes listening. Before pontificating with all the answers, I'd want to find out what questions people are asking, what answer's they're anticipating, and whether they will hear the truth even if it's spoken to them. Grieve with them, hear them out.

When they're seeking answers, REALLY seeking answers, give them. Why did this happen? because of sin.

Disasters and death are the full force of the Law. It's unavoidable. In witnessing death and destruction, we're confronted with our own mortality and our own utter impotence in the universe. When faced with a Category 5 hurricane or an exposion in a mine, at the moment that it happens, there's nothing can be done to avoid it. It's happened and now we need to deal with it.

It's time to pick up the pieces.

Couldn't God have prevented this? --Why do you ask? How will my answer affect what you think of God?

God is not impotent... but we are sinful mortals unable to see the totality of what is going on. Could he have prevented it? Yes. Should he? -- why?

Will I see my loved one in heaven? He lived a good life, he was a good man, will I see him in heaven? Why do you ask? How will my answer affect what you think of God?

God is not capricious, but we are sinful human beings always fighting against His will.

God's will is that all would be with him in heaven. But we are all sinners, born of sinful flesh. Not only is our world messed up, but we are cut off from heaven. ...because of sin.

Then it's hopeless, nobody can get to heaven. What's the point?

It's not hopeless. When our first parents sinned, God promised that He would fix the situation. He continued to be faithful in spite of our sin. The fact that sin has infected the world hasn't changed God's love for us. He created us to live in relationship with Him, a relationship that is to last forever.

When the time was right, God fulfilled that promise made to our first parents. He sent His Son, Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, into the world to overcome the power of sin, death and the grave.

Christ accomplished that work!

He was born, lived a perfect life free from sin, took our sin upon himself and took the punishment that we deserved. He died.

On the third day, he rose from the dead proving his lordship even over death and the grave.

For His sake, we receive the same victory over death and need never fear death.

For His sake, heaven is opened to us in spite of our sinfulness, selfishness and pride.

All this because He loves us.

Those that believe this need not fear death or the grave. They need not concern themselves with what happens after the death of this body. Our sins have been forgiven... because of Christ.

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