One of the inevitable facets of life that continuously threatens human beings is death. Death is when life ceases in an individual. The process is beyond the scope of this discussion as causes vary but the result is the same. While some depart from this world as a result of an accident, for some it is illness (long or short) while for others it is an act of wickedness e.g murder or evil machinations that cannot be seen or explained. Sometimes too, loved ones terminate their own lives or they depart peacefully without any known cause or explanation. Nonetheless, for those that die, death is actually good as one enters into rest from the toils of this wicked world. The book of Isaiah testifies of this fact revealing that death is actually an escape from evils that lie ahead (57:1). Furthermore, scripture describes death in some instances as ‘sleep’ which signifies rest as well. Unfortunately, for those left behind, death begins one of the most difficult phases of human existence. One is forced not only to carry on without their loved one but to handle the negative emotions that build up as result of this loss. The process of grief can become so complicated to the point of threatening the survival of the bereaved. Some of the negative effects of death are
- Change in lifestyle
- Change in living arrangements
- A host of unanswered questions regarding the death which can lead to frustration, confusion and stress or distress and depression
- Strife and misunderstandings based on the deceased estate or inheritance
- Pain or woundedness/brokenness because of unfinished business, unfulfilled plans and/or regrets or wishes around what could be or could have been and the realisation that it will not be
Now these are good breeding ground for negative emotions such as anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, stubbornness and rebellion which is why it is necessary to discuss copying with death in this post. The grief process begins with shock and denial, going onto anger and guilt followed by bargaining then depression and despair which should lead to adjustment and acceptance and finally recovery (Kubler-Ross, 1969). At every stage there is work to be done in processing pain. Allowing the negative feelings and emotions to play out and safely dispose them to enter the next stage until we reach a place of acceptance and then the recovery process can begin. Nothing happens in a day but deliberate effort to heal is key. It should also be worrisome when a particular stage is prolonged as in some cases individuals go through years and years of denial or anger and guilt etc. This can create wounds that may never heal but continue to cause rot on the inside contaminating the spirit and weakening the individual and their ability to cope with life. Consequently they may be an introduction of physical ailments such as clinical depression, panic attacks and heart complications. It is important to note that skipping a stage is as equally harmful as prolonging one particular stage.
I lost my mother at 33 years of age and unfortunately, the first port of call for me was acceptance. This is the act of acknowledging that the worst has happened but that life continues. I had literally watched my mother take a downward trend healthwise from the year that I got to the knowledge of God to the year that she died. This was about 5years later. My entire faith walk had been wrapped around my mother’s deliverance from an illness we couldn’t understand as she was supposed to be on a deathbed but was up and about till the unfortunate day. For me this was a testimony and I kept imagining a brighter day, a day of full recovery and wholeness. So when the news came I was not shocked but was numb. I did not cry. I was bold and fully saved and assured that all was ‘well with my soul.’ This was the biggest mistake. I did not grieve and when the reality of matter took in some 2weeks later, I was so miserable and dejected. But then I entered a phase of guilt, regretting not ever commanding her body to resurrect in the name of Jesus. “If only I had prayed that prayer, my mother would have risen” I thought, because Christ was in me. Again, this was a big mistake and when this didn’t seem to work, I went into another phase that took months and months. This time I was praying for her resurrection, bargaining with God to perform a 1st kind of miracle in my lifetime of opening the grave and calling forth my mother back into life. This was a beautiful phase as I had beautiful dreams to support this mindset. Dreams that confirmed that my mother was not dead and was alive and that we did not bury her. I believed God with all of my heart and soul as ‘nothing was impossible for him.’ My prayer life went backwards as nothing happened. My relationship with God began to take its toll. I was slowly losing my grip and I was not happy with myself. The day of reckoning came. I had to ask some questions. Did I still want to carryon this walk with Christ? Was my wish more important than the will of God? Was anything worth my relationship with God? I realised that I was in denial and not only that but i had become a ‘god’ wanting my will done against all the odds! I had not accepted the death of my mother and this had become my idol. An idol that I religiously honoured everyday at the expense of my relationship with God Almighty, my father in heaven. I repented and God started revealing to me some hard truths
- He is the sovereign God who performs his uncontested will (Proverbs 16:1/9/11/33/; 19:21; 21:31)
- He is the alpha and the omega so my mothers beginning and end was in him (Revelation 22:13)
- He creates for himself and his purpose not for me and my purpose (Isaiah 46:10; Job 14:5; Job 12:14)
From the above I learnt that my mother’s death had happened in the bounds of him who starts and ends all. I could see that his will could not be contested and that it was not my wish or purpose that could stand but his. This way, I had no option but to surrender my ill spirit and broken heart to him. He was well able and ready to accept me and heal me, redeeming me from destruction (psalms 51 & 103). I also learnt that is was a selfish attitude and mindset that led me to denial for so long causing me pain. I was thinking about me, me and me and not stopping even for once to consider the pain of illness my mother had bravely carried to death. She was resting now. Could I not at least appreciate this in honour of her fight to survive anyways? Some may ask how those whose loved ones die in their sleep or get whipped of the face of the earth by an accident may feel about this theme of selfishness. It would be selfish anyway to consider what the creator has done or allowed as unfair. If it fits in the will of God and it has so happened then it is selfish of us to see it otherwise. The act of wanting things our way no matter what- that is selfishness and it is motivated in evil not good. Again others will argue that the goodness of God cannot be consistent with killing his loved ones. To God whether we live or die, we are his! He is the master planner and nothing happens without his stamp. As long as it has so happened, in his wisdom-God has allowed it. Death may not be his intended will but as God Almighty and sovereign, it cannot happen outside of his permission. For me that becomes God’s will too.
Again scripture alludes to the finality of God’s word concerning life and death. As King, God overrules, overrides and superimposes any ruling in any court or board in the physical or spiritual realms. Let’s take a look at these readings:
2. Isaiah 45:4-7
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things
3. 1 Samuel 2:6-8
The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord‘s, and he hath set the world upon them.
4. Ecclesiates 9:11
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
In all this i came up with the term Divine Rule which basically translated to the sovereign rule of God. An act of God that can or cannot find an earthly explanation or meaning and cannot be understood by the human mind. So there are times where nomatter how spiritual or prayerful we are, things will just not happen our way and it will feel absolutely unfair. Death is one of those cases because when a loved one is gone, its final! No prayer or explanatiom will change things and what remains is acceptance.
In conclusion therefore, death is real and let it be a point of honouring and celebrating the life of loved ones. It need not be our point of entry into hell by selfish thoughts, harbouring negative emotions and entertaining spirits of negativity. As we do this, we cannot access heaven. This not only opens a door for demonic manipulations and torment but impacts one’s own life in a bad way and threatens one’s own existence. What is it worth? In a life full of opportunities and possibilities I exhort you to riseUP, shake the dust and move on! That loved one you lost, had a life apportioned to them and they had the chance to live it as they wanted but only up to the day accorded them by God Almighty A day they could not pass without the consent of God. Their death cannot continue to control your life all the way to your own grave. LIVE!
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falling is not the problem, failing to riseUP is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!