Summary: Job was a very righteous man. In fact the Bible says that he was blameless and that he feared God and stayed away from evil. A messenger shows up and gives him all kinds of bad news. Your oxen are dead. So are your sheep. Now your servants are dead.
“Lord why did THEY have to die?”
The time of year was Christmas and my family and I were gathering together to celebrate. We were at my mother’s home in Arkansas. My sister came in; she had her son with her. He was about to turn one. I asked where her husband and she said he wasn’t feeling well and decided to stay home. Some sort of inner ear problem she thought. So we had our family time together and she went back to her home. What happened at that point changed my sister’s life completely. When she arrived at home he had fallen and required immediate medical attention. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance and they made the immediate decision to fly him to Memphis. I drove to Memphis and later that evening we received terrible news. Apparently he had a blood clot and part of it went to the brain. The surgeon told us that he had a 50 % chance of survival.
Later the next day the news got worse. We lost him. He died that day which happened to be his birthday. He would have been 32 years old. Married to my sister for 10 years. He was the only guy she had ever dated. My sister’s life was turned upside down. In our Questions for God series we are dealing with the question of death and the question that came to me was this: “why did _______ have to die? My sister’s life has not been the same since and I don’t see the evidence of any purpose in this. Then the person writes, I’m sorry God…I’m not questioning you.”
Many if not all of us have been through times like this when we lose someone and it causes us to question God. Lord….
• Why did they have to die? More specifically..
• Why did they have to die at such a young age?
• Why did it have to happen the way it did?
• Why did it have to happen now?
We do not lack for scriptures that speak to this topic. Let’s look at a few.
(1) Job . Job was a very righteous man. In fact the Bible says that he was blameless and that he feared God and stayed away from evil. A messenger shows up and gives him all kinds of bad news. Your oxen are dead. So are your sheep. Now your servants are dead. Then his sons and daugters. 7 sons. 3 daughters. All dead. Can you imagine.
(2) David, the psalmist. 2nd Samuel 12:18 we see that his son became sick and died when he was only 7 days old.
(3) We see it in the gospels. And the first thing we learn from these stories is that Jesus had a soft spot for those who were grieving. On 3 occasions Jesus is confronted with the news that someone has died an untimely death. (1) The young daughter of Jairus. Jairus was the ruler of the synagogue. His daughter was only 12. Jesus insists she is only sleeping and brings her back to life. (2) Then the well-known story of Lazarus. Jesus learns of his sickness and the seriousness of his illness. Yet the Bible says that he remained where he was for two days. And when Jesus finally gets there he finds out that Lazarus has been in the tomb for 4 days. So He goes to the tomb and he calls him out. “Lazarus come forth!” Perhaps He had to call him by name or everyone in the cemetery would have come out. Jesus ruined every funeral he ever attended. Because the dead didn’t stay dead! He is the only one who can take death and turn into life and that is what He does in the resurrection.
(3) Then the passage we read today….concerning the widow from the city of Nain, a small town just south of Nazareth. Being a widow she likely depended on her son for many things.
When someone dies especially when they are young we want God to undo death. The first stage we go through when we are grieving is denial. We don’t want to believe it and we want God to undo what has happened. We want a miracle. Then we go through anger. We grieve for all of the things that never were and for the things that never will be. But let me tell you something that we really need to take hold of….. Death is not final. It is awful. It defies description but it is not final. Having faith does not mean that we will not grieve. But it does mean that the grave does not have the final word. Martha who was the brother of Lazarus said to Jesus when He arrived, Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died. It is almost as though she is saying Lord, where were you when we needed you. You could have prevented this. And it is a feeling many of us have when we lose someone we love. Lord where were You when this happened and where are you now?