…4 I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
I came to the office today to be greeted by some dear friends burdened by the deepest of sorrow. A child they knew, loved, and taught at school, four years of age, died yesterday as the result of a playtime accident.
Every death is a tragedy. The death of a child seems to be a particularly poignant kind of tragedy. It is days like today, when death is ‘in the face,’ when it is crucial to remember truths fundamental to our faith.
- God hates death and did not create us to engage in it. We chose it and choose it for ourselves.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because we all sinned– (Romans 5:12, ESV)
- God’s graceful mercy is the remedy to all death. God-in-the-flesh endured death so that death would be vanquished.
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NLT)
But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22, NLT)
- God is not distant from our anguish.
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8, ESV)
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8, ESV)
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
- God takes responsibility to comfort those who grieve. He does so through His Word and His Spirit.
Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. (Psalm 119:49-50)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. (John 14:16-18, NLT)
I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world. (John 16:33, The Message)
- God knows and receives into eternity those who were unable to respond yet to the gift of salvation.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. (Romans 5:8-9, NLT)
Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. (Matthew 18:2-5, NLT)
- God does not need us to defend Him or His sovereign acts. He has placed us in relationship with each other so we may be His hands extended in times of exuberant joy and crushing sorrows.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7, The Message)
There is much more to be said, to be sure. Questions are left yet unanswered, some of which may surely only be addressed by the Lord Himself. God is big enough for these questions and loving enough to endure them patiently, lovingly and with the perfect heart of a Father for His child.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. (Psalm 103:8-14, NLT)