14 December 2009


I'm still reading a book called "If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name" by Heather Lende. She is such a good storyteller and really makes you care about her family, friends and neighbors who live in the remote town of Haines, Alaska.

The book is a mix of funny and sad stories, but the last chapter I read was full of her memories of neighbors and acquaintances who had died while flying their small aircraft to and from Haines. It's a fairly inaccessible village and flying is the only way to get in and out at certain times of the year. She has also related many stories of people being lost at sea while fishing, since many in the village make their living by fishing commercially. Suddenly, I was overcome by grief, not just for these individuals, but for the whole human race. I found myself weeping and asking God, "WHY?" I didn't feel angry at God; I was just filled with this question of why God doesn't just stop people from being born into this world where sadness, grief and death are inescapable. Why does the cycle of birth and death continue when He could stop it at will?

I don't have the answer to that one and I know His Son lived through the same experience, so he knows about our suffering firsthand. I'm confident He has good reason for allowing it all to continue and He says that children are a blessing from Him, so earth wouldn't be as blessed if we just stopped conceiving with a view to making things easier for ourselves. It's one of those mysteries that will only be answered when we reach Heaven. Meanwhile, we must trust Him for each step of the way.

Heather Lende mentioned a scripture that comforts her when she's remembering these sad events. It's in Psalm 139, and it says:

"If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Thy hand will lead me,
And Thy right hand will lay hold of me." (v. 9-10)

Another was Psalm 107, which was inscribed in a memorial to fishermen lost at sea:

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep."

These scriptures remind me of the fact that God is with us in this adventure called life and He has things under control, IF we've turned control of our lives over to Him. If we haven't, life would be truly terrifying, because we have NO control over anything, much as we might like to think otherwise. We don't even control whether we draw the next breath.

Thank you, Lord, for being there with us through it all. Thanks for giving us enough answers to trust in You even though we may have to wait for the answers to some questions.

God sees death from a whole different perspective than we do. I'm reminded of Isaiah 57:1-2 which says:

"The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
He enters into peace;
They rest in their beds,
Each one who walked in his upright way."

So, death, at God's appointed time, is His way of "taking us away from evil". Hopefully this will comfort us when we lose a loved one. Though we will grieve, we also have hope, knowing they are safe with God and we will be also when our appointed time arrives.

Meanwhile, our task is to tell others, to spread the gospel message so others won't have to live in fear and so they can have hope, also.


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