What Do You Expect?

“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Ephesians 5:2 NLT)

As a pastor I was privileged to sit with people in the best times of their lives and their worst times. A parent’s worst nightmare is the loss of a child, but for a parent who loves and is following Jesus, a child who isn’t following Jesus is a close second.

People who don’t know Jesus likely wouldn’t understand the pain of having a child who isn’t prepared to die. What do I mean by that? As I understand the Bible, God’s eternal written Word, a person who dies without an intimate and personal love relationship with Jesus will be separated from God, and, thus, from believing parents, loved ones and friends, for all eternity.

A believing parent who loses a believing child has the hope and expectation of a joyful reunion when they leave this earth to be united with Jesus and their child who preceded them in death. The pain of loss is still very real and takes time to work through, but ultimately, there is comfort in knowing you won’t be separated forever.

On the other hand, an unbeliever who loses a loved one or friend, has no hope of ever seeing their lost loved one again. So, on some levels, their pain is intensified. Although there are some clergypersons, friends and loved ones who will seek to comfort grieving persons by assuring them: “Your loved one is in a better place.” The truth is, if the person who died didn’t know Jesus, assuring them their loved one is in a better place is just a lie.

Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

People, even lost people, who understand that, will often raise questions about the circumstances of their loved one’s death. I’ve heard things like “Why didn’t God do something?” “If your God is so powerful, why didn’t He heal my loved one/friend?” “If God is so loving, where is He now, when I need Him?” And on and on the questions go.

While I’ve never asked a grieving person this question, I’ve sometimes wanted to ask: “What do you expect Him to do?” Yes, of course, you wanted Him to step in and stop the crisis that resulted in the death of the one for whom you grieve, but what about the inevitable “next time” they die. What then?

What’s my point? Simply this – God HAS done something! The most loving Parent – our Heavenly Father – gave His ONLY SON so that whosoever will may come to the Cross and find forgiveness and new life. Why is that so vital to understand?

Because God’s tremendous, unequalled sacrifice, was given for the express purpose of giving us an alternative to being forever lost and being forever separated from those we love the most. That’s why it’s so critical that, as children of God, we must live well and pray well and share well with those whom we love the most, about the love of the One who sacrificed everything, to give us hope of eternal life.

Let me close with this thought. An unbelieving couple who loses their small child, even a stillborn or aborted child, has an investment in heaven that can and should, give them an incentive to come to the Lord. Life begins at conception, so for that life to be cut short in the womb or before the age of accountability, that child will be in heaven. Of course, the age of accountability is another conversation that we’ll look at more closely tomorrow.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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