One Saturday night last year, I got a call from my sister.
Sis: Hey, do you know where your parents are?
Me: No. I didn’t see them on Skype or anything.
Sis: Okay, I’ll call you back.
I thought nothing of it but ten minutes later my phone rings again.
Sis: Hey, what are you doing?
Me: Nothing much. What’s up?
Sis: Can you sit down?
Me: Ummm okay… what’s wrong?
Sis: There was a bad accident…. and…. he didn’t make it….
This is how I found out my only brother, who had turned 25 just days before, died.
Where do I start? I felt disbelief, shock, grief, out of control. My legs physically buckled… I couldn’t even sit up in the chair. I felt deserted by God for a few seconds. Until, for some reason, all I could keep saying, almost mindlessly, was “Thank God, thank God, thank God…”.
But why was this my response? Unfortunately, many people would blame God, ask why He would allow this, wonder what we did to deserve this punishment.
Well let’s look at Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians:
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.
1 Thes 4:14.
Paul also advised for us not to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope:
God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thes 5:18.
It is hard with our limited minds to understand God’s plans but he has promised us a “hope and a future” (Jer 29:11).
Months later, and lucid, I know now what I was thanking God for:
- For allowing us to grow up in a Godly home and for giving us the gift of His son; my brother had given his life to Jesus (i.e. become “saved”) at a young age so I was assured of his fate.
- For sparing my brother, his wife, and my family from a life as a vegetable. I saw pics of the accident online (regrettably) and heard the autopsy reports; if he had lived, he would have been severely brain damaged.
- For granting my brother 30 years filled with true love, amazing travels, a dream job, and unique experiences.
- And selfishly, for letting me talk to him one last time on his birthday.
So for those dealing with the death of a loved one, meditate on the above verses and take comfort in knowing that our multi-faceted God is Jehovah Rowi (our shepherd), Jehovah Shalom (our peace) and Jehovah Raffa (our healer). So lay all your grief at His feet, embrace His peace, and let Him heal your pain.
Finally, give thanks for the time you had!