Job 1:21, NIV
The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
The past few days have been difficult days. One of our long-serving and very much loved team members is no longer with us in an earthly sense, but he is still very much with us in a spiritual sense. He is now joined to Christ in eternity and we are joined to Christ in time. Jesus is the bridge between one side of the curtain and the other.
It seems especially difficult when someone is suddenly taken from us – it is such an unexpected shock for those who are left behind. And yet there was such a deep assurance that our brother’s life was totally bound up in God. And in those circumstances, in spite of all the difficult questions that immediately spring to mind, it is easy to say Amen to the words of Job. Words that were spoken by him when he got news of the death of members of his family. He recognised that life came from God in the first place (The Lord has given) and that life, therefore belongs to God, and the moment when we go to be with the Lord for eternity (the Lord has taken away) is, therefore, totally within his loving control. So we have no grounds for rejecting the God of love, when we lose a precious loved one, even though at that moment we cannot understand what He has done.
Of course there are the questions. Of course there is the pain and the grief and, even, a sense of anger at what has happened. But when our feelings are laid before the Lord at the foot of the cross, any sense of anger is dissipated by the overwhelming love of Jesus, who allowed His life to be taken, so that we may have ours back. And the Father who saw the death of his own Son, longs to put His arms of comfort around you. He totally understands.
And for our brother, he is now more alive than he has ever been. Many times he will have sung those words, “Now, my heart’s desire is to know You more.” Today, his prayer has been answered. The Lord has given him his heart’s desire. And I have no doubt that he is at peace that God knows best. So we can say with Job also, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
There will be many of you who understand first-hand the pain of loss of loved ones. As you put your trust afresh in the God who knows and understands, allow Him to also be the God of all comfort for you personally (2 Corinthians 1:3) and look to him for deep comfort, for inner healing and for his refreshment for life’s journey.
And for each of us, I pray that times like this will serve to remind us to both pray for the bereaved (Jesus said, “they will be comforted” Matthew 5:4) and of the importance of living every day, as unto the Lord, till either Jesus comes, or takes us also through that curtain which the world calls death, but which is simply a transition from life on earth to life in the glorious presence of our wonderful Redeemer.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for the lives of all our brothers and sisters who have been called home before us. We thank you that for those who believe, there is an eternity of joy to look forward to. We truly can bless the Lord and praise His name. Amen.