Timing Isn’t Everything

John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it.Then they went and told Jesus.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.    Matthew 14:12-13 (NIV)

There’s sadness in my home today. A long-time friend has unexpectedly died. We will miss her infectious smile and the joyful light that she brought along wherever she went. We all know that she is home with the LORD and rejoice in her life. But there is a hole in the fabric of our lives that will take a while to mend. The fabric will never be the same.

It isn’t unusual for us to wonder about the “why” of God’s timing on the death of someone we love. We know that there must have been a better time in the future to have taken this person to heaven. A wise chaplain told me a true story one day when I was questioning God’s timing.

As a military chaplain, he was often called to notify active duty personnel that there was a death in their family. One day he had to tell a young female ensign that her civilian husband had been killed in a traffic accident. The woman was devastated. The young couple had discussed that she might lose her life in the call of her military duty but they had never considered that he, a civilian, might die. They had been married less than a year and she cried as she expressed all that they had not had the time to experience together. The chaplain let her talk and then asked, “What if God did allow you to chose the day and time. What day would you chose for your husband to die or even for your own death? How would you decide on the day?”

The young woman, like most of us I suspect, would not be able to make such a decision. Should I choose sooner, before suffering and unforseen difficulties come? Should I choose after a child is born or finishes school or gets married or has their first child or last child? Yes, this decision is certainly best made with the wisdom and sight that only our Creator and LORD has.

Even Jesus, who knew the Father with a singular intimate knowledge, withdrew to allow Himself some moments to grieve for the loss of His cousin, John the Baptist. Grief is a normal response to loss. It’s a journey to a “new normal” as my life becomes different in the loss.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.   2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NLT)

I believe that the key to coming through sadness, or grief, with a healthy spirit, is to share our grief with others and receive the shared comfort from each other. God works through His children, to His children.

And so my friend, you have gone before me to your home in heaven. I envy you. I will try to share more smiles and the Light of Christ just as you did. Thank you for being you. I’ll see you later.

Tears in Heaven written and sung by Eric Clapton



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