Virtual Christian Magazine HOME PAGE     
            
May through July 1997 Volume 1 Number 3



"Hello, God! Are You There?"
by Roma Camerata
How do we know if God hears our cries and prayers? Here's how little Elizabeth found out.
Posted July 9, 1997

Attitude is Everything
by Francie Baltazar-Schwartz
What attitude we start the day with is completely our choice. In this story this man's attitude helped save his life.
Posted June 16, 1997

How to Make Peace With Your Mother-In-Law
by Becky Sweat
Sixty percent of all marriages suffer from tension with mothers-in-law. Here are some of the complaints and suggestions for making peace.
Posted May 20, 1997

You Can Love Nature Without Worshiping It
by Mike Bennett
Some worship the creation, some destroy It. What would the Creator say about all this?
Posted May 17, 1997

The Bible: The First Hypertext
by Jean Jantzen
Is there even a greater Design to the Bible than we have ever imagined? Perhaps the manner that we access information today is what God had in mind all along when He inspired the Greatest Book ever written.
Posted May 12, 1997

Persistence Pays Off
by Becky Sweat
Our kids need perseverance whether they are tending a garden, learning to play a musical instrument, or practicing gymnastics. Here are some tips for helping kids develop stick-to-iveness.
Posted April 21, 1997

Child's Play--Or Is It?
by Victor Kubik
Playing with toys when we were small has been an important part of our development. In this electronic age we have seen spectacular changes in toys...but, have those changes helped our children?
Posted April 15, 1997

What Disability Can't Do to You
by Cecil E. Maranville
For some disability means an end. For others it's a challenge to think and do like they had never before.
Posted March 28, 1997




     

May 1997

Reflections on an Untimely Death

Death is never pleasant. A premature death is especially hard to bear. But when the person who has died is your close friend and you are invited to perform the funeral ceremony, it powerfully concentrates the mind. What can one say to comfort the bereaved? What can one say which is appropriate to the situation?

Importantly, what does God say about death and its meaning? Is it the end? Is the person still suffering somewhere else? Will we see them again?

When you observe the family going through their trauma, and then coming to terms with their pain and grief, there are more searching questions which need to be answered. Why did the person die? And why now? When a life is prematurely cut short, the compelling question is why him or her - and why now?

As a minister, I have been called upon to conduct many funerals over the years. I have attended many more of people whom I have known. Some have been especially challenging - the elderly father of a member of the British Government comes to mind. Others have been totally tragic - like the teenager whose life was cut short as he was knocked off his bike by a careless motorist; or the young lady who was the victim of a parasailing accident on a Mediterranean holiday, where the operator simply got careless at the end of a long day; or the newborn baby who lost a fragile hold on life after struggling for a few weeks against a crippling birth defect. The one thing I know is that there are rarely any totally satisfactory answers.

One of the great lessons we ought to learn from death is that life is fragile. Life is uncertain and capricious. It takes sudden and unexpected twists and turns. Accidents can happen. "Time and chance" (Ecclesiastes 9:11) can run their course - even for those who have committed their lives to God. Someone quipped that - "life is a sexually-transmitted terminal disease - no one gets out of it alive". Think about it - it's true. Some lives are cut short, causing sickening grief for those left behind. Others live to a ripe and full old age. We never know when our turn will come - but it will come. We all die.

David wrote in the Psalms: "Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am" (Psalm 39:4). Death is very humbling. It teaches us who remain that we only have a measure of control over our lives. That ought to change the way we go about our daily living. The Apostle James wrote "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that" (James 4:13-15).

Those who are called by God to follow "the Way" (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23), which today we call Christianity, have been purchased by the living Jesus Christ, and have dedicated their lives to the service of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). We should (but don't always) seek His will for our lives. We should ask daily for His guidance, leadership and direction whereby we might accomplish His will. The principle of that way of life is love and humility before God and our fellow man (Matthew 22:37-38; James 4: 6-7; 1 Peter 5: 5-6). Whoever we are, whether minister or member of the Church, in whatever walk of life and whatever age, death teaches us to walk in humility and love before God. Why? For the simple reason that He is the author of life and death - and there is none other. Only God truly holds the gift of life in His hands, and only He has the gift of eternal life to impart.

A close friend and ministerial colleague was recently struck down by a terminal disease. He was well known and much loved by many, and had faithfully and unselfishly served for many years. The outpouring of hundreds of encouraging letters and cards bore loving testimony to a life well lived. His illness and eventual death has been reported elsewhere on this web-site.

His death came very quickly at what seemed an inopportune time and far too fast for him to take adequate evasive action. I personally did not expect him to die, despite his desperate plight. I did not want him to die. I expected and believed God would heal him. Thousands of people around the world, and many of you reading this, shared the same faith and were exercising prayerful support. Such a death leaves one numb. It is a great disappointment. Why didn't God heal? Did we in some way lack faith or obedience which limited God's hand? Or was it simply God's will?

I don't think we can ever really know the answers - not till the next life at least, when we might well enquire of our heavenly Father. What we can know is that sometimes people who live by faith also die in faith, not having been healed in this life. If a person is going to die we would all want it to be firm in faith right to the end. Such, I am convinced, was the case with my friend and colleague. Upon the authority of the Holy Scriptures we can take great comfort that such an outstanding life was not in vain, and that we shall see him again (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:52-54). He is no longer suffering, and is now "asleep" awaiting that promised return to life.

How hard it is to accept God's will when we want something different. How hard it is to let go of something we may want with all our heart and every fibre of our being when God shows us a different path. Yet accept it we must, and determine to continue our own Christian lives strong in the faith. With God's help, we must deal with the inevitable feelings--which might well include feeling angry with God, and learn to cope with the pain and seeming injustice we may feel. We must remember that: "... all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

One day we will fully understand. But for now, we can seek God's encouragement and direction, not only for our own lives, but also for others we may know directly affected by tragedy. We can be secure in the knowledge that the God of perfect love will see to it that, in the fullness of time, we will see our loved ones again. In that, we may rest in faith.


John Meakin


This page was Designed by WebMaster@NET500

Copyright 1997 Victor Kubik