Yesterday, I preached at the funeral of a very dear friend. Over the last 10 years, Cindy had become “family” to me, my wife, and our four daughters. For six of those years, she battled cancer valiantly and selflessly. On Sunday afternoon, Cindy finally won: the cancer is dead, and Cindy is in the presence of the Lord whom she loved, proclaimed, and served. She enjoyed gazing on Christ from afar, but now she is doing so face-to-face. Victory!
To be honest, however, my heart aches. I feel almost schizophrenic—I have sincere joy for Cindy, but I also have a deep sorrow over the temporary loss of one so dear to me and to those I love. Sure, I’m not sorrowing “as those who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13), but I am sorrowing nonetheless.
As I spent extended time with Cindy’s family over the last few weeks, I had several opportunities to explain why God would allow such suffering to enter and end the life of one who loved Him so. The question faced me again last night as my five-year-old, with tears streaming down her face, told me, “I miss Miss Cindy.” She wept and surprised me with two very penetrating questions: “Why would Jesus let us die? Doesn’t He love us?”
How would you answer that?
I explained to her that Jesus absolutely loves us. “How much does He love us, Dear?”
“So much that He died for our sins,” she answered.
I explained that because Cindy knew Jesus as her Savior, the moment her body died, her soul—the real Cindy—was with Him. “She’s seeing Jesus face-to-face. She’s not struggling to breathe. She’s not in pain. She’s happy with Jesus.” Esther appeared to be satisfied with that answer.
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