Thursday, June 14, 2007

Practicing Theology: The Death of a Lost Loved One

It's times like these that show us (and those around us) exactly what kind of theology we have embraced, God-centered or man-centered. My dad passed away a week ago, and I've been "practicing my theology" as I seek to honor my holy and just God since I have no reason to hope that my dear dad is in the presence of God.

This is not something I take lightly, nor flippantly. But because I have come to know and better understand the character of God through His Word over the years I am not only able to consider this unpleasant matter, I am persuaded to stand firmly and agree with God that He is just, holy, and good--no matter what.

How does one reconcile the fact that they have no reason to hope that their loved one has passed away into eternal life with God, and is most likely spending eternity separated from God? If you are a believer in the one true God, you must agree with and embrace the truth of Scripture--that God is holy, good, and just, and as such does what is holy, good, and just.

During trying times such as losing a loved one, the believer must not suddenly "invent" a God of his own design who welcomes any and all into His eternal kingdom--that would be a great lie and affront to God as He has revealed Himself through His Word. Like David in the Psalms, I've been doing a lot of "self-counseling" this past week. This morning I read the following in "Women Helping Women":

"The sovereignty of God is comforting only to those who believe God is entirely good and completely in control of all things. Indeed this is what the Bible teaches about God: He is totally in control of the world and "causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose: (Romans 8:28). He is perfectly holy, just, and righteous. After all, what real comfort is there in a God who is sovereign but cannot be trusted to always do good on our behalf? Or what help is there in a god who is entirely good but not able to always have power over people and events?

Of our Lord, the Scriptures say, "Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the hightest heavens, the earth and all that is in it" (Deuteronomy 10:14)...And Psalm 47 tells us that God is a great King over all the earth (verse 2) and that He reigns over the nations (verse 8). Our sovereign and good God is able and willing to help us in all things including our deepest distresses...

In his discussion of Romans 8:28 and its comfort in trials, Martyn Lloyd-Jones says people think they need something other than theology to be soothed and eased. Lloyd-Jones is not talking about cold orthodoxy, he is talking about theology applied in its most helpful and wonderful fullness. He makes the case that in Romans 8:28 Paul "desires, therefore, to introduce [his readers] to the method which can be applied always, and everywhere, and in spite of all circumstanes and conditions." Paul was comforting them with the comfort he had received from Christ. He was showing them how he comforted himself with the truths of theology so that they could comfort themselves with it and not be dependent upon his presence with them."

Through my dad's death God in His matchless mercy and grace has ministered to me through His Word, His Holy Spirit and His loving saints--He does indeed cause ALL things to work together for good. THIS is what Biblically solid theology does, it gives hope based on the character of a just and holy God! To God be all the glory!


Kim said...

Sounds like you are trusting in God, Connie. It must be difficult, but your faithfulness is shining through here.

Terri said...

Connie, having recently lost my grandmother I know you must be emotionally and physically spent, but it sounds like the God of all comfort is helping you. I am thankful for you dear sister and your example. You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Connie, I'm very sorry for your loss.

I'm in the same position as you. I lost my dad almost 6 years ago, and also do not believe that he was saved.

I offer you this - God's grace is truly sufficient. It is by His ever-sustaining grace that I live with this knowledge.

He will indeed extend that same grace to you as well. Praise God for that!

Rebekah said...

Connie, I'm so sorry for your loss and will be lifting you in prayer. I do pray God will comfort you as only He can.

Jon Nunley said...

Excellent, thought-provoking post dear friend.

I am also sorry for this loss and will be praying for you and your family. I, too, am thankful for you and your example.

Much love, Lisa

Anonymous said...

Hi, Connie. I'm sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost mine 2 yrs ago. I'm glad I found your blog. It is very interesting. I will pray for you. Email me when you get a chance.

In Him,

Mike Miller (from DTS and Swiss Ave. Bank)

sheshe said...

Thanks for sharing your perspective on this subject, dear friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you mourn the loss of your dear father. I very much enjoyed the snapshot you gave into his life in your other post, too. I am wondering how your mother is doing?


KristineT said...

Connie, I lost my own father-suddenly and tragically just over 3 years ago on Thanksgiving night(accidental overdose of tylenol, after a day of binge drinking with a "buddy"), and since becoming a Christian, and also embracing the doctrine of God's sovereignty and perfect goodness in ALL things, I too have had to wrestle with God in my prayers regarding the eternal state of my father.

With all the tears it brings though, my only comfort seems to be found while embracing the same doctrines that raise the very possiblity that my father will not be with God in eternity. I ultimately find my rest in falling on the one true God of Scripture, Who is perfectly just, perfectly loving, and perfectly merciful.

May our gracious and compassionate Savior, continue to bring you comfort and peace.

Lord Bless You. I will include you in my prayers.