This week I am attending two funerals – one for a 22 year old man who died from cancer and the other for the mother of my son’s good friend. I was reading Psalm 23 this weekend and wanted to share a few thoughts in light of these funerals.
As I read, it hit me that we must remember that life is a gift. The temptation at times like these is to question God or to be full of anger at God. “Why did he die so young?” “Isn’t God good?” or “Why does life have to be like this?” We may learn some of the answers but often we will be left with questions. And the reality is, we are not in a position to demand answers.
We must remember that God is the Creator and we are the rebellious creatures. As this psalm says – we are the dumb sheep and He is the good shepherd. Getting a perspective on who we humans are, can give us a heart of thankfulness for the good times we do have. If we’re honest, none of us has honoured our Creator God in the way that we should with the life that we’ve been given. We don’t deserve the good times that we do have, let alone, start questioning God for the good times in the future we think we deserve. Let us thank God for the day we are given here on this earth. Remember our friendships for what they were not for what they could have been.
Secondly, this Psalm reminds us that we are never far from God’s presence. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” – the writer, David, knows about struggle and death. He’s not pretending that everything is OK. But David does know that he is not alone. God is walking with him during the dark days. We know this most vividly through the person of Jesus who lowered himself, took on flesh and suffered in ways that we can’t even imagine. I can’t give all the answers but I encourage others that God does know suffering and is with us during our suffering.
Finally, I think David reminds us that God is good and we will see his goodness in the end. Even though life is hard now and is filled with many questions; we are assured that God is making all things new. There is hope for the future as we trust King Jesus to continue to bring healing, justice and mercy to this world that is broken down in so many ways. At this time of sorrow and pain, we honour our friends’ memory by coming to God; not by running away.
Traumatic times can and should be a major time for our personal growth as men and women of God. Years from now, we will still have many questions, but maybe, just maybe, we can say that God used this time in our lives for His glory to mold us into the people that He wants us to be. Don’t waste difficult times. Don’t let life just get back to normal. Pray for God’s power to be real in our lives and pray that He would use us in the lives of those in our community.