In the past week I have been to a funeral, attempted to resurrect someone from the dead (but failed to get permission to access the body), and have had numerous conversations with others who just had family members pass away. In all of this it is impossible for me to not think about what Jesus purchased for us that he stated over and over again in the gospels, especially in the book of John. “Whoever believes in me . . . will never die.”
I had a conversation this evening with a family member where I recounted the failed resurrection attempt. His response? “The Lord knows His timing and call some to be with him sooner than we might think.”
My response? “I don’t think God kills people.” You see, I have a hard time believing that God does kill people, especially when the person in question was twenty-five, died of a brain aneurysm, and left a grieving fiancée, family, friends, and a great deal of unlived-life behind. Really?? We think that “God’s timing” involves killing a young woman?
The quick reply to my response was, “Well, the Lord doesn’t kill people, He just takes them home.” I’m afraid that in my quickness to use common sense I left behind my religious mindset that would have made that response make any sense at all. Can someone please explain to me how the Lord “took” this woman home via brain-aneurysm-death, yet He didn’t kill her? I’ll admit, I’m a bit confused at that reasoning.
We have for far too long given ourselves over in religious circles to thought-processes that make no sense in order to explain tragedies that elude easy explanation. Worse still, we attribute those tragedies to the God of Light and Love as though somehow God is perpetrating these literal crimes against humanity. Instead of acknowledging what the Bible clearly states in John 10:10–namely that there is a thief loose in the world who kills and destroys, and who is nothing at all like God, we make up these pious-sounding arguments that (stunningly) people somehow actually believe.
I think it would be far more authentic if we started questioning random acts of darkness instead of simply attributing them to God for lack of better understanding. I will be the first to tell you that there are lots of passages in scripture that I don’t understand and have no explanation for. I cannot explain all of the verses that say that God killed hundreds of thousands of people, because God didn’t do that since it’s not in His nature. I can’t explain a good number of Old Testament verses for that reason, but I CAN understand with impunity that Jesus and God are the same, and that Jesus revealed himself to be the one who GIVES life, not the one who takes it away.
We have for too long relied on Job’s limited and inaccurate view of God as one who gives AND takes away instead of relying on the perfect revelation of God found in Jesus Christ. It’s time we moved on from the spoiled rancid last-year’s milk of the old way of God-kills thinking and try chewing on the meat of the God who raises the dead, heals the sick, and give hope where there was previously no hope. Instead of living a powerless gospel that saves no one at all but relies on death to get them to heaven, I’m believing in the Jesus who promised abundant life, and who said “whoever lives and believes in me WILL NEVER DIE.” You get the same choice–choose wisely.