I know that Jesus came to give God's children abundant life, and that its the adversary that has come to steal, kill and destroy. But when is death, particularly at an early age, a part of God's plan? I'm not sure. I'm a sojourner in a land that I don't understand. I wasn't really made for here, I was made for the glory (but I too have fallen from that place Rom 3:23) So there is alot of stuff I just don't get. However, I'm of the persuasion that we as His children accept death (particularly untimely death)far too easily. We've assumed that it must be God's will. When we don't understand it we say "God is sovereign, still in control. His ways are higher than ours, and we can never understand His will. We just need to accept it."
I agree that His ways are higher and better and beyond my pea brain. However, just because I can't explain an untimely death doesn't mean I need to accept that as God's will. Yes, He is the God of the Universe. Yes, He can do whatever He chooses (except He cannot lie). However, He has given us His children, responsibility and authority in running this world. Most of us just aren't doing a good job nor taking our responsibility seriously. He's given us a job to do. If we screw up or sleep on the job, we suffer the consequences because we haven't taken His mandates to us seriously.
By us I'm meaning both on an individual basis and corporately. We each have a mandate to fulfill as individuals, but we also work as and are judged as a whole universal body. The problems of this world are because of sin, yes, but as followers of Yeshua we have been given power to rectify situations. We aren't just victims of a fallen world. We are supposed to be armed warriors, trained to tear down strongholds, to set captives free, to be MORE than CONQUERORS.
I am not saying that if something bad happens to a certain individual that it is because they and they alone have done something wrong. Maybe they have, maybe they haven't. Maybe we as the body of Christ have failed them, too. Maybe we haven't entered the battle like the body should, and so although the outcome of the war is already decided, the particular battle might be lost.
On the other hand, we as individuals have to take more responsibility than most of us are comfortable with. Maybe we do have sin issues in our life that we haven't dealt with and we are suffering the repercussions. I know that is not a comfortable idea. I've been paying more attention in the last few months to how we humans seem naturally to pass the blame when it comes to our behavior. It's rampant. And it's been that way since the Garden of Eden. But the reality is that we are to blame. We've screwed up, royally, and continue to. (but thank God for His continued mercies that are new every morning without fail.)
One thing I have a difficult time with is when Christians use Romans 8:28 so flippantly. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
One thing is, many people stop at the All things work together for good. But the verse says, for those who love God. So this is directly for Christians, not for the population at large. It is clarified by to those who are called according to His purpose.
Secondly, I don't understand this verse to say that all the things that happen are God's will. Yes, in His sovereignty He has permitted them, but that does not equate to them being His will. Like adultery. It is always wrong. It is never right. But in spite of that, God can restore marriages and relationships (and He loves to). He can even make them better than they were before. But only when we take action, take authority, choose to live according to His statutes & decrees and choose Life. So, a bad situation can be worked together for a good, bringing life out of what had brought death. But does that mean that the death was actually good, and was God's will? I don't necessarily think so.
Well, I can't say that I always know God's will, so I can't say that in a particular situation it was or wasn't God's will.
In John 12:24 (NIV) it says: I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
So, sometimes death bears much fruit.
It does seems that a principle of scripture is that God will give His people a full life if we live in obedience to Him.
Ex 20:12 & Deut 5:16 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Ex 23:26 and none will miscarry (early death of baby) or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
Deut 6:1-2 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.
Deut 32:46-7 he said to them, "Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess."
I believe God's intentions are that we live full lives of health and in years, but it is by our own choices that we make that shortens our lives.
The Choice of Life or Death
11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Question for You: Are you comfortable with your own thoughts and ideas about these issues, or do you still question it all?