Some lessons just need to be learnt again and again.
In my post Our Days Are Numbered (Sept 5th), I commented on how God had been reminding me of the transience of this life. At the time my mum was responding well to chemotherapy in the UK. But on Oct 20th, we awoke to the news that God had called her home to be with Jesus. We made arrangements and traveled back to the UK for the second unexpected visit in the last 4 months due to a bereavement.
I’m told that Don Carson in his book on suffering, ‘How Long, O Lord‘, says that in the midst of suffering is a very difficult time to sort out your theology – it needs to be done beforehand. Although I’ve not yet got round to reading that book (I still mean to! It’s supposed to be very good!) we found that we have been blessed with sound teaching that did prepare us well for these events. Here I will list just a few of the truths that we’ve been holding dear.
God is totally in control (Matt 10:29-30; Isa 43:13; Num 23:19). He is our Father and loves us (1 Jn 3). He knows what is good for us far better than we do (Isa 55:8-9) and He is working everything out for our good (Rom 8:28). He is totally wise (Rom 11:33). Although we may not understand what is happening or why, He does. In His wisdom He has done what He knows is best even if we can’t see how it is good for us. That alone is a great comfort… but there’s more!
Anna’s brother and my mother both trusted in Jesus and so we know that for them death has lost its sting (1 Cor 15:54-57). It has become a gateway to paradise (Luke 23:39-43). They are now with Jesus – no more tears or pain or suffering or doctors or hospital trips (Rev 21:4)! They couldn’t be happier! We know that we will see them again when Christ returns and so we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thess 4:13-18).
Obviously we will miss them and for those of us left behind there is a sense of loss and grief. But what comfort all these truths bring to us! I can honestly say it is good to know the Lord! I feel we have been so blessed. We have been able to see family and friends, churches and prayer partners. The flights were expensive but already God has provided more than enough to cover the cost. I don’t know where I would be without Him.
Speaking of comfort, I was recently reminded of a great part of the Heidelberg Catechism:
Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.
What a great comfort! What a good God!