The End Is Not Death
Written by Mike Shreve, Chaplain for Texas Hospice
John11:4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."
This passage is speaking of a man named Lazarus who was dead for four days and the family was greatly distressed in grief over their loss. Mary and Martha are the sisters of Lazarus and believe in the healing power of Jesus. They plead for Him to come to raise the one in whom He loves, Lazarus. Jesus however, takes his time for the purpose of bringing greater glory to God. The longer Lazarus is in the grave, the greater the magnification of the hand of God at work in raising Lazarus from the grave.
God’s way may seem peculiar to us and sometimes a little deranged. Why would a good and righteous God allow the depth of grief to strike those whom He loves? Why doesn’t He remove the point of pain and sorrow for his children?
Recently, I was confronted with the most difficult case to date for me in the hospice world. The patient was only forty-three years old and only married for three years. Together they had just begun their family with a two year old daughter. The wedding pictures of the couple looked like they were straight out of Hollywood.
The patient was diagnosed a year ago with cancer after complaining of back pain to his doctor. Throughout this last year the patient had shown perceivable signs of recovery, which every ounce of this young family desperately sought to believe. Unfortunately, this young man died this last week leaving behind a beautiful young wife as a widow and a young daughter fatherless.
Why does God choose to raise Lazarus and allow this young man to pass into eternity? The answer is in this verse, God’s goal is ultimately to bring glory unto Himself. He is not as concerned with the temporal end of our lives as much as He is in the eternal resting place of all His creation. He uses our lives to make an eternal impact for his glory and the mysterious ways in which he has accomplished His perfect plan will make sense when we stand before Him in glory.
Although God’s plan at times may seem strange, we know that as believers in Jesus Christ The End Is Not Death, To God Be The Glory!