When I got the call Saturday morning that Eleck had died I was shaken. Surely it couldn’t be. I asked the State Trooper to spell his name to me just to be sure I was hearing correctly. “Not Eleck,” I thought. I wanted answers, explanations, reasons. The nagging question that grips many is this: If God is good and powerful, how could he allow Eleck to die? Why?
It’s a legitimate question. I don’t fault you for asking. At times like these I sometimes have more questions than answers. But I still trust God and I want you to know why.
I still trust God because…
- He unconditionally loves me. In Genesis 15 God made a covenant with Abraham. It’s a gruesome scene. Abraham took a cow, a goat and a ram, cut them each into two pieces and lay them on the ground. Believe it or not this wasn’t unusual in Abraham’s day. This is how kings made agreements between one another. The weaker king would walk between the pieces of the animals and say to the stronger king, “May it be done to me as has been done to these animals if I break this covenant.” So you would expect Abraham to walk between the pieces of animals and declare his undying allegiance to God. He didn’t! He fell asleep and a boiling pot and a torch passed between the pieces, representing God! What was God saying? “May it be done to me as has been done to these animals if I break this agreement?” No. God cannot lie. He would never break this agreement. God was saying, “May it be done to me as has been done to these animals if you break this agreement.” Did Abraham break it? Of course! And God carried through with his promise. Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” I still trust God because He kept his promise to Abraham by dying on the cross for Abraham’s sin. I still trust God because, while I was ungodly, He died for me. He loves me.
- He sacrificially loves me. In his book, Reason for God, Tim Keller talks about the unique nature of Jesus’ suffering. Many martyrs have marched valiantly to their deaths. Jesus cowered under the weight of his impending crucifixion. “He began to be deeply distressed and troubled” saying, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Mark 14:33-34) Why? Jesus was not simply encountering the physical pain of suffering–he was carrying the weight of my sin. His suffering caused him, for a period, to be separated from His Father. His cry from the cross was, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He not only sacrificed his life, but his good standing before His father so that I could have life. Again, Keller says, “He had to pay for our sins so that someday he can end evil and suffering without ending us.” He loves me.
- He sees me as I will be, not as I am. I’m often tricked into thinking that I’m living my best life now, that things couldn’t get any better. On really good days I sometimes think, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” And I’m wrong. As beautiful as a fall day is, it pales in comparison to the unhindered beauty of heaven. As vivid as the bright orange on the maple trees is, its color is muted by the early frost. When I feel I’m getting it most right, I’m not even close to getting it right. I struggle with wrong motives and thoughts that others never see. God sees them. And the resurrection of Jesus is proof that I won’t always be like I am now. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:42-43, “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” I am not who I was, but I am not who I will be.
I miss Eleck. I love the Eleck I knew here. However, the Eleck I knew here is a mere reflection of the Eleck I will see one day. I saw Eleck in moments of glory…one day I’ll see Eleck in all of glory.
The reason I will be able to see Eleck is because God is good (He died) and powerful (He raised Jesus from the dead).
He loves me. I still trust Him.