(Moved from April 11 to 19. I started this a week ago, and never had a chance to finish it.)
I sat in Bible Study a couple weeks ago, and a scenario was posed with a question.
"You just heard that your friend's parents were killed in a car accident. What do you tell her?" A wonderful saint answered quickly, "It depends whether or not they were saved. If they were, then no problem."
I was stunned.
I could not think of anything to say without insulting the intent of her statement, which was obviously kind. If they were saved, then Yes, those parents were in a better place, but the (adult) child who was left was in a much worse place. If they were not saved, then what comfort would this commenter have for this girl? Either way, this sudden orphan was in a place without two of the most important people in her life, and two of the most dependable people. She had leaned on them, loved them, and been loved by them for decades, and now they were gone.
"...then no problem."
I had to think about this one. I try not to let instinct overwhelm truth, but in this case instinct was dead-on-accurate.
The commenter was speaking from simple faith. I advocate simple faith over complex faith any day. I don't want to have to understand God to believe in Him, or I am doomed when the pressure is on. I cannot think clearly when I cannot quit sobbing, so my faith had better work better than my mind. Faith had best be simple.
The commenter had a simple faith. God had said He would care for the righteous dead, so the child left behind could be at peace.
The commenter's faith should have been simpler.
She should be at peace without the answer to that question.
No matter what you believe foreknowledge, election and predestination mean (and Weekend Fisher is a little way into a discussion of just this over at her site, though more important things have called her away for the time), they mean you can believe that He works all things for the good of those He has called. All things includes evil things. And death is one of the evil things that He works for our good.
I said "our" good. I have heard this verse twisted almost to mean that God brings evil into our lives for His own good at our expense. God Forbid. Yes, God works all things to His own good, but, Yes, God works all things to our good too. Our good is always in His heart. Whenever there is a difference to be paid in bringing good to all of us, He takes the expense on Himself. He paid the price to make this possible, and not we ourselves. He works in His compassion to us, and He gives us grace we cannot repay. He works all things to our good.
Let's go back to this poor girl who lost her parents.
What would I say to her?
I will assume that we would all listen for a long time before we speak. We would weep with her while she weeps. When the time comes, we would share our similar experiences, and assure her that life might always be different, but that it will again be good and joy-filled.
What do I say to her after all that?
God works every tragedy to the good of those that He has loved. That doesn't make tragedy less tragic, but it makes God the Redeemer.
Death is His enemy, even more than ours, but He overcame death. He will overcome this for you, and turn it into a blessing. It's hard to say that about something so awful, but He earned that trust from us. He didn't overcome death by the strength of his right hand. He overcame it by enduring tragedy. The Son suffered it, the Spirit watched it, and the Father had to turn His back on His only Son. God has allowed this suffering into your life, but He knows what you are suffering, and He is standing with you now. He knows what you are feeling, and He has pledged to make your joy complete. I do not know His ways, but I know His promises, and I know what He paid to make them good.
Would I have to ask whether her parents were saved? Of course, I would. It matters to them. It matters to God. It matters to her. But it does not matter to God's promises. God will heal the broken heart of that girl. His heart was broken once, too. And having been there, He promises to comfort the grieving. Every tear will be wiped away.
(Yes, I lost an atheistic father that I loved, so I can say these things, but that's not the point.)
Our faith must be that simple. When tragedy strikes, we do not have to ask questions before we know whether God will comfort us completely.