My mother called me with the sad news that my uncle had passed away. He had just returned with his wife from playing cards when he said that he felt dizzy, put his head down, and died. I think that everyone is still in shock. I cannot even imagine the sorrow that my cousins are experiencing right now. It seems so senseless.
Death is bizarre. We know that we will all die – it’s a fact of life. But when it happens to one you love, it just doesn’t seem right. It can feel so arbitrary. Why does one person live to see their 100th birthday when another is stillborn? Why does a child die before they even get to be a rebellious teenager? I ask these questions, yet return to the fact that we all die. I guess the question is not so much a matter of the fact that we die, but rather the fact of when we die. Who chooses this?
It says in the Bible that God does. He formed us in our mother’s womb. Isaiah 44 verse 24 says, “This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.”
God knows how many hairs are on our head. Matthew 10:30 says, “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
And God has even counted our days. Psalm 139 verse 16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
The English Standard Version quotes it as, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
Having our days ordained is similar to having them “numbered”. God knows exactly when we are going to die. God is sovereign.
I find this both a comfort and a question. It’s comforting to know that death is not so arbitrary. It’s comforting to know that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives. But it still leaves the question of why. Why do good people die young? I don’t have the answer to this. And I won’t know the answer on this side of heaven. I’m not sure that I will even know the answer after I die and face my Maker.
But I can rest in the fundamental truths that God is sovereign, God is good and God is faithful. God is love. I can leave my questions at His feet and pray for peace in this time of sorrow knowing that He will comfort me.