“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)
The death of a person, particularly a child, raises a number of really difficult questions. Some of Asher’s friends in year 7 have been asking tough questions this past week. Questions like, “Doesn’t God care?” “Why did Asher have to die?” “Why didn’t God save him from cancer?” “Asher was a kind boy who loved God, he didn’t deserve to suffer and die. Why did God allow this to happen?”
First, I’d like to reassure you if your child (or you) have these sorts of questions and thoughts that’s okay. Give him/her an opportunity to share his/her thoughts and feelings. It’s in our human nature to rebel against pain, suffering and death and it’s absolutely fine to even question God about these matters. I always say to people to tell God exactly how they feel – He can handle it. (If you don’t believe me, turn to the Book of Psalms in the Bible and read the raw honesty of people going through distressing situations.)
So, do I have all the answers to the above questions? No, I don’t. Can God heal people? Yes, He can – I have seen people recover when they never should have, but I’ve also seen many instances where people with just as much faith (maybe even more) have not had those cries for healing answered. Why doesn’t He? I don’t know why. My only answer is that God sees the big picture – He sees things from an eternal perspective. We can only see the here and now. I frequently use the following illustration to try and explain that better. Imagine, you’re sitting in your car on the M1 and it’s complete gridlock. Nobody is moving and drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated. All you know is that your way ahead is blocked by stationary vehicles and you have no idea what’s causing the problem. Now consider the view a helicopter pilot will have of the situation. The cause of the problem will be very clear. There’s been a serious accident that’s damaged a bridge’s structural supports and travelling onto that bridge is likely to lead to further tragedy. While sitting in the traffic can be infuriating, nobody wants to travel onto a bridge that’s likely to collapse. The helicopter pilot sees the bigger picture. In the same way, God sees our lives as a whole, not just the here and now that we see.
Asher had faith in God and trusted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Like all Christians, he was aware that this life wasn’t all there is. Nowhere in Scripture are we promised an easy life. What we are promised is that God will be with us during those troubling times (See Isaiah 43:2). God was with Asher during his illness. Asher is in a far better place, but even so he will be sorely missed by his family and friends.
Revelation 21 tells us that there’s going to be a new heaven and a new earth. In verses 3-5 we read, I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people. He will live with them and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne [Jesus Christ] said, “Look, I am making everything new!”