My church family suffered a tragic loss Sunday morning when one of our members, the thirty-one-year-old mother of three, died suddenly. Her death was so unexpected that she and her husband were listed in the bulletins as the greeters for the day. This week has been a time of grieving, reaching out to each other, and asking Why?
Today we gathered at the church to say our formal goodbyes. We served lunch to the family, offering what comfort we could by meeting a physical need. Then, we moved to the sanctuary for the memorial service. The back of the room was filled with extra chairs. More chairs spilled out into the foyer, and people who couldn’t find a seat lined up around the walls. We listened to eulogies and songs, and we watched a video celebrating a life that ended too soon. Then, the Pastor turned to the book of Job and spoke about how Job suffered great loss and wanted to know why. God never answered Job’s question, but Job came away from the experience with a personal understanding of a holy God. Centuries later, God Himself suffered in the person of His son Jesus for the remission of our sins. We don’t understand why a holy God would do such a thing, but when we have an encounter with Jesus, we come away with a personal understanding of a loving God.
We still don’t know why a young woman died in the prime of her life when it seemed like she had so much left to offer. All we can do when we don’t understand is bow the knee in the presence of a holy and loving God who understands our sufferings because He has suffered, too.