You give and take away, You give and take awayI believe my prayers to be more aware of God is being answered. Tonight, I was at a worship meeting when we found out that a member of the school community that I teach at died unexpectedly from an explosion earlier in the evening. We were all in shock and the immediate reaction was to find out where his body was so prayers could be said and the Lord could then glorify Himself by raising him from the dead. At another time, I would have been completely in sync with some of those in our group who wanted to do that. Tonight however, I surprised myself by my hesitation. What I wanted to do was pray for his obviously grieving wife and three sons (our sons’ schoolmates!).
My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name
From the song “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman
I did have a chance to pray briefly but stopped when more commotion and activity happened. We were understandably saddened, distressed, and some emotional, and we were all handling the gruesome news in various ways. Being an introvert, I left to seek solace in my haven: home. I got here and played the keyboard while singing the lines above, over and over, until I really meant it.
I don’t understand why a life would end so suddenly, so young, with fireworks. I saw him just a few days ago and just as always, he had kind words to say. He welcomed me back then he was off. When I think of him, he’s always that even keel, level headed person, a family man, and an obvious blessing to our community. Why so soon, Papa God? Why in that manner?
I had no answers but I felt the Lord’s peace. Somehow, Ecclesiastes 3:2 came to mind about a time to be born and a time to die. Death is what we all have in common and what we must do to move from this life to the one we’ll live forever. For believers in Jesus, if we don’t die, then how do we go to heaven? It just has to happen at some point, somehow. Yesterday, I was actually joking with a friend who was helping me unpack and move things in the house. I asked her to give me a hand in moving a big and heavy rocking chair from the second floor porch area to our living room. I told her that I didn’t want to do it alone in case I slip and fall and kill myself while carrying the bulky furniture down the stairway. Who would then know if it happened? It was a joke and a morbid thought but I am very serious now when I say if I do perish, please do not pray for me to live again in this life (unless of course God asked you to!). I am grateful and love my life but how could it compare to the glorious one I’ll have in heaven? I know I would rather be there.
Just as I know that our departed friend (and anyone else who’d gone to heaven) is ecstatic about his new abode. It is highly unlikely(!) that this life will ever win. And this is why I didn’t want to pray for him to be raised back to life. I will miss him and do grieve. I am deeply saddened for his wife and sons and our community. BUT, he is where he wants to be, and most important, where God allowed him to be at this time. It is His grace.
From her place of pain and sadness, Rachel called her son “Benoni” meaning “son of sorrow”. Jacob spoke and said otherwise; calling him Benjamin, meaning “son of my right hand” (Genesis 35:18). Kim Clement stated in his teaching that Jacob changed what could have been a curse to a blessing. I urge us all, we are called to do the same.
When death itself appears, faith points to the light of resurrection beyond the grave, thus making our dying Benoni to be our living Benjamin.In spite our collective grief, the Lord is good and we can trust His goodness. He means well for our friend’s family left behind. He loves them more than all our love combined. Amen.