Death does not discriminate. At some point, all of us deal with the suffering that death brings. When we do, we are often inclined to question God and to wonder why God allows a world with so much suffering to exist. Philosophers and theologians have struggled for centuries with the question of suffering and have not come to a conclusive answer. But we do know what the answer is not.
We do not face suffering and death because God does not love us or is indifferent to our pain. We know that God loves us. The shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35, "Jesus wept" was Jesus' response when confronted with the death of his friend Lazarus. Jesus wept and grieved. If Jesus reveals the true character of God to us, then his weeping means that God suffers with us. God is not indifferent. In the midst of his suffering on the cross, Jesus himself cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46b). Jesus understands our suffering. I imagine that each of the disciples agonized over the same question. They had been with Jesus for three years and were part of the ministry that was going to change the world. Now, Jesus was dead and buried. We know that the grief and fear they felt would be replaced by joy, exultation, and celebration on Easter Sunday. But what consolation is that to us when we cry out, "Why God?" Our cries turn from anguish to anger as we wonder why God would let a loved one die. We fear that God has abandoned us. In these times, it seems impossible to believe that God is with us and that something good can come from death; but that is exactly what faith calls us to do.
As the disciples watched their teacher, leader and friend die, they wondered what would happen to them. They asked, "Why God? Why did Jesus have to die?" But three days later, with the miracle of the Resurrection, they knew. We too have that hope of an eternal Resurrection with Christ when we die!
Ask your child...
Who has taught you to be honest with God?
Who has taught you to face death unafraid?
Who has taught you to trust that God is with you always?
Challenge your child...
Think of people you love who have died. In what ways have they touched your life?
God, help us to trust you when we fail to understand. Amen.