Today was a sad day, but a day with hope as well. This morning I had the honor and privilege of officiating the funeral of a 3 year old boy. Even now, several days after he died, there are no results telling us why. He was a bounding, curious and cute kid nearly three years old, and the next thing you know, he was running a fever, throwing up a couple of times, taken to the hospital and passed away. Shock is too small a word. Autopsy results may give us a reason, but the bigger reason may remain unknown until we get to the other side.
Was there a purpose here? Why would God allow such a thing to happen?
If you were God and could see things from His perspective, I imagine it wouldn’t be nearly as hard. If we could see the look on someone’s face as they enter the place God has prepared for them… maybe we’d be a lot more jealous than sad? Truth is, all of us are going to spend much more time on the other side of eternity. Life simply isn’t very long –even if you live to old age. The Bible compares life to a mist that is here for a moment and then gone. And the Scriptures also compare life to grass that grows in the morning but by evening has withered away. However it is described, the word temporary always seems to apply. 1,000,000 years from now, the years the little three year old missed on this side won’t seem quite so large or important.
Or maybe it is vitally important? Maybe that’s the point.
You have to admit that if God exists as the Bible describes Him, then death here is not the end but merely a beginning of something even better. If God exists and the Bible is even remotely true, then the next life is so much more important than this one because this one is temporary, while the next is eternal.
Perhaps the important thing is to make it; to get to eternity because that’s where we will meet again. The little three year old boy has made it. He’s avoided the suffering and trials of life here on earth, and he’s made it into something we can only dream about.
Paul would write, “I desire to go and be with Christ which is better by far.”
If by this tragedy, God can reach others who otherwise would have missed out on eternity, then not only did this little boy give his family joy while he was with us, his life would also have been used for the highest purpose: So others would find eternal life because they know a little boy will be waiting for them. It’s very possible that by his death, he and many others will live, whereas if he had lived until very old, he and many others possibly would have died. Days like to today are certainly good at interrupting our busy lives full of a multitude of worries, and reminding us of the things that matter most.
What Jesus said is still true, and one could say especially true in this day and age: “Anyone who finds his life will lose it, but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.”
In other words, if you live for this life alone, you’ll wind up with nothing. If you live for Christ and the life to come, you’ll gain everything because this life is temporary but the life to come is eternal. And the only way to get there is through Christ.
Today may have been very important indeed.