I never knew I would start on this note but right now, I can’t help it.
I just heard about the death of someone I met during my service year, a pastor. He was a friend’s pastor and she had invited me for a program in their church, that was the first time I met him. I remember a lot of things about him, though he wasn’t my pastor. I remember how he used to invite me to their church and I’ll just laugh and tell him I have my own church, I remember his words, his smile, gosh, he was a handsome man. We were not close but he was close to my friend so I saw him a lot and heard a lot about him from this friend of mine. I am still in shock, I mean, why did he die? He was a pastor for crying out loud, he was trying his possible best to make sure the church grew and he was so so young! I can’t help but feel sorry for his wife, the woman is so young, how is she supposed to cope with this? One day, he was by her side, the next day, he’s nowhere to be found. I heard he was returning from a journey when he had a head-on collision with a bus. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where he was scanned and discharged because nothing was found to be wrong with him even though he was complaining of serious stomachache. He went back the next day, insisting on another scan as the stomach ache refused to leave. The scan was carried out again and it was found out that some of the organs in his stomach (spleen etc) were damaged. He was rushed to the theatre but he did not make it, he gave up the ghost. Now, my question is this, ‘how is the wife supposed to cope knowing that his life could have been spared?’
I understand that people die every day due to some other people’s carelessness or wickedness or what do we have to say about parents that use their children for rituals all in the name of making money or better still, the brutal killing of the four guys in Aluu community, Rivers state? What do we say to these things? What should one do when a loved one leaves?
I remember the case of a woman in my church too, that lost her husband sometime ago. The couple was so close, they had two children but you will see both of them holding hands and laughing together in public as if they were not even married yet. It was obvious that their relationship was deep. Suddenly, the husband fell ill and the wife was saddled with the responsibility of taking care of him. She did everything she could; she left her business and was always by her husband’s side. Her faith was so strong; nobody could tell her the man was going to die. She would tell everybody that cared to listen that her husband was not going to die, if only they would pray with her. One thing led to the other and the husband died. I know when things like these happen, we are not supposed to question God but I was tempted to ask, ‘God, but she had faith!’
A friend of mine also lost her mum a short while ago, never mind the fact that she already lost her dad. When I heard the news, I couldn’t help but cry, I mean this girl is a Christian, a prayer warrior, she encourages me! You just can’t be sad whenever she’s around and her love for God is just so obvious. So why should something like that happen to her?
There’s a movie I have on my lappie, one of those ‘I can’t delete it no matter what’ movies, titled LETTERS TO GOD. Tyler, the main character was diagnosed with brain cancer. His mother, who happens to have lost her husband and who is a medical doctor could not save her own child. Tyler believed so much in God that he considers writing letters to God a very good way of communicating with Him. He taught everybody he came across the importance of writing letters to God. Even when he knew he was going to die, he kept on touching and affecting lives. The question most people will ask is why didn’t God preserve his life through a miracle, after all, his life was telling people about God? The first time I watched the movie, I sincerely thought something miraculous will happen, I was disappointed and couldn’t help the tears flowing down my cheeks when I saw the scene where he died. The mother is a Christian for God sake, she had two sons and her husband was no more. Why would God take away a son that brings smile to her face? How is the woman supposed to cope? What should become of her faith??? Why did God even allow the guy to fall ill in the first place?
What do we have to say about young women that lose their rich husbands to the cold hands of death only to have family members come pouncing on the couple’s property like a lion looking for whom to devour? Sometimes I wonder, has the woman been a spectator in the man’s life all this while? As the Yorubas will say, ‘iku so ile ola d’ahoro!’ (Death has turned a rich home into an empty one).
The death of a loved one symbolizes a lot of things. Aside the fact that the deceased has gone to the great beyond, never to be seen again, for some families, it symbolizes a total turn around. There are a lot of women who do not have anything doing and when the husband dies, the children (and the mother of course) begin to suffer. We have children around that had to leave private schools for public schools because of the death of the father (or the mother as the case may be). Some mothers have no choice but to separate their children so relatives can help out.
Oh, there are a lot of stories, different perspectives, I could go on and on and on but it will still bring us to the same point, the death of a loved one signifies that things will never be the same again!
The mysterious thing to me however is that everybody will die one day, and that’s something we all know but choose to ignore sometimes. Death is a debt we all owe, and we all must pay! Of course we do not know the time as Mark 13:33 puts it, ‘Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. KJV’. There is a need to keep watch; to live our lives as if today was the last. Just think about it, if you should die now, what is that one thing that you do not want to be caught doing? Drop it immediately! What is that one thing that you want to be found doing? What is that one thing that you should be doing but you’ve been postponing? Start doing it right away, ‘Lest coming suddenly, he finds you sleeping, Mark 13:36, KJV’. Above all else, the death of a loved one should remind us that life on earth is ephemeral!
I can’t pretend to have all the answers, I don’t know why some of these things happen, I don’t know why people die at the time they do, only God knows but I do know that ‘…ALL things work together for good to them that love God…Romans 8:28, KJV’. I know that even when we can’t see the good, as long as we make loving God a priority, everything will work together for our good. After all, you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. It might be difficult to say or see or even think about right now but God says, ‘My thought towards you are of good and not of evil to give you an expected end!’ Your expected end is still in view as long as you are on God’s side no matter what has happened, one with God is a majority! Indeed, ‘many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver him from all, Psalm 34 :19’. I heard about the guy that composed the hymn, ‘It is well with my soul’. I heard he lost his wife and all his children to the cold hands of death in a day and he could still compose and sing a song! Take a little time to reflect on the lyrics of the song. ‘When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL’. Think about it, what kind of faith is that?
We don’t pray for these things to happen, nobody does, but when they happen, should it make us lose our faith?? Should it make us loose our praise?? Should it deprive us of our love for God?? As it is written, ‘Who (or what as the case may be) shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither DEATH, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39, KJV’
When a loved one leaves, all hope is not lost, there is hope for your tomorrow, because HE lives, you can face tomorrow, no matter what it brings!!!