It was on a March morning in 1992 when we got the phone call that our brother-in-law and best friend had been killed in a tragic car accident. The events of that day led us to our hometown where friends and family gathered to mourn together. Those events also led me to grow angry and resentful towards a God, Whom I had been taught was loving and good. While we were at the funeral home for calling hours a woman of incredible faith, whom had mentored me in mine, came through the line. “Where was God when Brad died and why did He allow this?” I asked her quite bluntly (and with a little bit of attitude). “Oh hunny” she said, wrapping me in a big hug. “He was right there and He is right here even still.” “I just don’t understand” and she then she said to me; “He will show you if you seek Him and ask Him.” I didn’t know if I really wanted Him to show me anything. I was so confused and so sad in my heart for Brad’s wife, who was pregnant and his little girl, Allie. He had so much to live for. Who won in this situation? How could God be so cruel to allow this?
Our family walked through the preparations and calling hours together, not wanting to believe that we had lost such a great guy at such young an age. It was during the funeral that I did begin to ask God where He was when Brad died. It was also during the funeral that He answered me. The Pastor spoke; “Many of you are asking the question; ‘Where was God when Brad died?’ and I am here to tell you that He was in the same place He was when His Only Son, Jesus, died. On the throne.” At that moment I felt as if I were the only one sitting in the church and a spotlight were shining directly upon me. I had forgotten that God had watched His Son die too. I had never understood that He had been separated from His Only Child as He hung on the cross. I knew at that moment that God was speaking directly to me and something in my heart began to change as I realized now that my greatest need was to know the truth about God. Not what I had been told about Him from others or what my own perceptions led me to believe. But Who God really was; His Character, His ways, His thoughts, His plans and the only place I could discover that was the Bible. So that is where I began.
If we go back to the beginning when God was creating, to the book of Genesis, six times we see this statement; “And God saw that it was good.” Once He was nearing completion of His work Genesis 1:31 says; “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” So what happened that made the world that was very good in God’s sight, not so good now? We discover the answer to that in Genesis three when Eve was approached by a serpent and deceived into believing that God was withholding something from them. That serpent was Satan. The Devil himself and he has been deceiving people from the beginning of creation until this very day. “Has God really said?” he spoke to Eve on that day in the Garden and he whispers the same question to us today.“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”[Genesis 3:2 &3 NKJV] Well, guess what; God wasn’t kidding. One act of deception, one act of disobedience cost the entire world God’s best. Once Eve believed the lie was better than the instruction of God a curse was brought upon the entire world. And death was part of the curse. “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” [Genesis 3:19 NKJV] We suffer loss and death because of sin and because God has an enemy. His name is Satan and he wants people to believe his lies over God’s promises and truth. He will steal, kill and destroy people with his subtle lies and deceptions.
Four years ago we lost another very good friend of ours in a car accident. He was a strong Man of God and was really looking forward to living for Jesus. Yet, suddenly, without warning he was gone. While the loss and separation is hard for us, this time we had a deeper understanding that we experience death, not because God delights in our pain, but because of an enemy who wants us to believe that God causes all bad things. Satan is really good at getting us to forget about him in bad times and turn all our blame on God. Bad things will happen but I find such hope in Romans 8:28; “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” My hope is in Jesus. God sent Him to die on a cross for all sins. God was not selfish when He sent His only Son to die for every sin so that in death, we might have life. John 10:10 says; “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Abundant life is found in Jesus. Peace in the midst of trials and storms is found in Jesus. Hope of seeing those who have gone on before us is found in Jesus.It has been 19 years, several churches and many teachers later and I have discovered that God is full of Grace and rich in Mercy. He is Who He says He is in His Word and He does what He says He will do. He can be trusted and He wants to be known. And when He had the world just the way He wanted it, it was good.