- Religion and Philosophy
Tragedies In Death
Tragedies In Death
“But now you have rejected and humbled us ; you no longer go out with our armies. You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us. You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations. You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale. You have made us a reproach to our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations; The peoples shake their heads at us . My disgrace is before me in all day long, and my face is covered with shame at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me because of the enemy who is bent on revenge.
All this happened to us , though we had not forgotten you or been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back ; our feet had not strayed from your path . But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals and covered us over with deep darkness.”
Psalm 44 : 9 - 19
Not all psalms have a happy ending. Some such as Psalm 44 and 88 are intensely sad. They try to make sense out of suffering and fail. They ask God for help and receive none.
As Christians who are walking blamelessly before God and men, should we expect only good things from the Lord ? Are we exempted from the misfortunes and tragedies that befall men in the world ? When we heard the tragic death of some notable men and women in Christian circles, we try to find fault in their lives justifying their tragic death. There are indeed great men and women of God whose lives ended in tragic death.
Take for an instance the late David Wilkerson. He is indeed a great servant of God who had led thousands of souls from the gangsters of New York to Christ. He is in fact the instrument used by God for the conversion of world renowned evangelist Nikki Cruz. He met his death just this year in a tragic car crash. David Wilkerson is a devout man of God, faithful to the teachings and cause of Christianity.
Last year Manila churches were shocked by sudden death of a renowned pastor of one of Manila’s finest megachurches Greenhills Christian Fellowship. Pastor Willie Pantoja died when he met a tragic fall from the stairs of the hotel where he is lodged at Kota Kinabalu during a conference. This news shocked us and many speculate on his shortcomings as a pastor. But Pastor Willie Pantoja remained a godly man and a devout servant of God committed to the cause of Christ.
In our very own church Grace bible Church, two years ago we were greatly saddened by the news of the sudden death of our deacon’s seventeen-year old son. The son of our deacon was hit by a vehicle while he was crossing the street and died at the hospital. Our deacon Mr. Delio Marasigan is a devout Christian who has given up his work in a cigarette manufacturing company because he cannot compromise anymore his conviction. Even up to now, even though the Lord has not yet given him a new job as a replacement for his work, he remained committed to Christianity.
Just recently, we were shocked by the headline in the news about the brutal rape-slay of a third year BS Computer Science student from UP Los Banos named Given-Grace. She is a Christian and a daughter of a church pastor.
Tragedies, afflictions, sufferings do also happen to Christians even though they are walking uprightly before God and men. As we have read from Psalm 44 , Israel army suffer defeats even at the times they have not forsaken the Lord or have turned back on their covenant with the Lord. Should we receive only good things from the Lord as Job says.
These tragedies are magnified only when we focus on earthly things and life on earth. When we take away our focus from God and from His everlasting kingdom , these tragedies will weigh heavily on us. The truth is everything here on earth is temporary and death is certain to every person. The thing that matters most is life in eternity. The people mentioned above may have met tragic death , but the reality is they are rejoicing now in the presence of the Lord JesusChrist. Death for them is just a thing of the past for now. They are rejoicing because they have accepted Christ as their personal Savior and Lord during their earthly life. Surely their loved ones have been hurted so much by their kind of death but in the end they will be reunited in the everlasting Kingdom of God.
Everything here on earth is temporal, God in His perfect wisdom allows things to happen for a purpose. Trials do come to our lives to test where our hearts are rested on , on the temporal things of the world or on the eternal kingdom of God. The Lord wants our hearts to be firmly established on the eternal Kingdom of God.
It is not the question of the manner by which a Christian died, even first century Christians met tragic deaths by being fed to the hungry lions in their commitment to Christianity. The truth is no matter what form of death a Christian may face, there is a great glory and joy awaiting him to the other side in the presence of the Lord. The truth is the thing that matters most is the eternal kingdom of God. We have to fix our focus on this, so our hearts will not be swayed by the tragedies of this earthly life.