I was sitting in a darkened sanctuary two Sundays ago with a few of our youth. Their friend Dakota had just died. Through tears, one asked, “Why? Why would God do this?”
“God didn’t do this,” I replied. “God didn’t look down from the sky tonight and say, ‘Her, I want her.’ We just live in bodies that aren’t made to last, and sometimes bad things happen. That’s why God gave us a better life, an eternal life, to come.”
I don’t know if the youth bought it or not. Asking why in the aftermath of a tragedy doesn’t usually get us very far, not really. The time to ask why is earlier or later, but not when we can barely see through our tears.
Now, two more tragic deaths later, we’ve got lots more tears. We’re exhausted of our tears, and the funerals haven’t even started.
Questions of God are good. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just know that the timing of some questions matters. Asking “why?” from the emergency room or the funeral home rarely helps, because, at that moment, the answer doesn’t really matter. What matters, at that moment, is this:
First, God loves you. A lot. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Not accidents. Not crashes. Nothing.
Second, Jesus weeps with you. After all, Jesus knew what it meant to lose a friend. He cried when Lazarus died (John 11). He knows the pain you’re feeling now, and He won’t abandon you.
Third and maybe most importantly, death doesn’t have to be the end of any of us. By faith, we will share a never-ending life with Jesus and the people we love. Such faith won’t stop the grieving, but such faith makes the grieving bearable.
Please hang onto these three truths as you gather in these next days to say goodbye to people whom you loved. Write them down on the back of your hand. Post them on Snapchat. Whatever you do, don’t forget them. Later, ask “why?”, but, for now, be held in God’s grace and loved by His Son, strengthened by His Spirit, and know peace.