by: Lynn Passet
I had a friend ask me recently, "Why does God take the good ones?" in reference to the death of a very good friend who was not only a very good person but an excellent Christian.
This is a question that we have been asking for a very long time. It doesn’t seem “fair” that good people suffer illnesses and sometimes an early death while those that live for themselves & have no desire to know Christ appear to live lives to be jealous of.
The great Confederate General Robert E. Lee, viewing the carnage associated with the battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, is reported to have said to General James Longstreet, “It is well that war is so terrible; otherwise we would grow too fond of it.” It’s because of war and losing those we love, that we don’t ever want another war.
I guess the same could be said for why we lose some of “the good ones” far too soon too. If death only took the old and the sick then we would become all too complacent and feel that we have all kinds of time to live the way we want – as long as we make ourselves right with God when we get old and before we die.
It’s losing the “good ones” that awakens us in a variety of ways. It helps us realize that life is fragile and that it can come to a crashing end at any time – not by our choosing. It helps us to remember what is really important in life and to never take anything for granted. It also forces us to give ourselves to Christ now or possibly suffer the consequences at a later date and time.
Think about it, we don’t grieve over those we do not know. Not a tear, no heavy heart and not even a word of our condolences to the family. When those we love deeply have passed from this life; we grieve deeply because they are no longer present. Unrealized dreams rise to haunt us, unfulfilled hopes and lost opportunities haunt our memory. Love mingled with sorrow sweeps over our soul, and we grieve.
As followers of the Master, we adopt the attitude of the Apostle Paul, who has written, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus”
In reality, nothing really separates any of us when it comes to dying at a young age or living to be 100 years old. What separates us is what we have done with the time that God has given us. Therefore, there are “the good ones” and the not so good ones. The number of years we live isn’t what’s important at the end – it’s what we did with those years that matters and determines if others look at us when we die as having been “one of the good ones.”