(From the sermons entitled “Ang Katotohanan sa Likod ng Sakit o Pagdaramdam na Dulot ng Kamatayan” and “Ang Panahon ng Pagpapagaling” for dates October 31 and November 3, 2013)
There are many things that bring us grief in life. Life is always full of different forms of sufferings and travails and one of the things that give us great sorrows is when someone dear to us dies.
Even the stories in the Bible show how servants mourn for their love ones who passed away (Deuteronomy 34:9; John 11:30-36). Mourning is really a natural thing and does not contradict to the will of God. However, even if servants of God know what will happen to their love ones who died, they still feel great loss and lamentations.
Others feel great loss of hope because they know that they will never see their love ones who died. The Bible says that dead people will remain dead until the day of resurrection. The body will turn to dust, the spirit will return to God and the soul will remain in the body. (Ecclesiastes 12:7) “For our soul bows down to the dust; our belly holds fast to the earth.” (Psalms 44:25) “As the cloud fades, it goes, so he who goes down to Sheol shall not come up. He shall return no more to his house; nor shall his place know him anymore.” (Job 7:9-10)
The great loss felt is because of our strong attachment to them. The strong attachment that we develop as humans makes us feel that we want everything to be eternal, that we do not like endings or death. However, we know that nothing here on earth is eternal.
What is the truth behind the great sorrows brought about by death?
The Bible says that if we die, we expires, meaning we cease to live. Furthermore, we do not have any part anymore of the things here on earth. “For there is hope of a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again and its shoot will not cease. Though its root becomes old in the earth, and its stump dies in the dust, at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant. But man dies and is cut off, and man expires; and where is he?” (Job 14:7-10)
The death of His servants is important to God, especially those who have shown obedience to His will and commands, and who have lived according to faith. (Hebrews 10:38; Psalms 116: 15)
We believe that God is the giver of our life. We live because of Him and we shall die according to His will. Nobody knows the time of death and this is the reason why we need to use it according to His purpose.
Death is a transitory state only. This is what others do not know about death. When a person dies, he undergoes the sleep of death. At the appointed time, those who have died will be resurrected and this is the chance for us to see those who have died before us.
We shall see them again if they will be blessed to be resurrected for the everlasting life and we will be granted the prize of salvation. They are now at peace and at rest, but they that served Him and obeyed His will and commands will be raised again to receive the promised eternal life. “And I heard a sound out of Heaven, as a sound of many waters, and as a sound of great thunder. Also I heard a sound of harpers harping on their harps. And they sing as a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one was able to learn the song except the hundred and forty four thousands, those having been redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones following the Lamb wherever He may go. These were redeemed from among men as a firstfruit to God and to the Lamb.” (Revelations 14:12-13)
The sad thing is if we do not see each other because they or we will have a different fate other than entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Others will be resurrected for everlasting life and others will be resurrected for eternal damnation (John 5:29)
What do we need to have from God when we experience these sorrows?
If we are suffering from the wounds of these type of sorrows, these wounds should be healed. In the Bible, there is a time to be wounded and there is a time for healing. There is a time for suffering and a time for joy (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3). If we are wounded, God will surely heal us.
God is a great healer. He can heal whatever wound we have, be it physical, emotional or spiritual (Deuteronomy 32:29). In many instances, God healed His servants’ wounds and He removed all their sufferings.
God is a great comforter. In Isaiah it says, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” (Isaiah 66:13) When God manifest Himself in the flesh through Jesus Christ, He performed many healing works. This not only shows His power to heal but for us to realize that He can give us wounds and He can heal us too (Matthew 8:13-16). Jesus did not only performed physical healing, before He left, He promised to send the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, who will guide and comfort His Disciples and followers.
“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
“But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)
When did they receive the Comforter?
Jesus’ followers received the promised Comforter at the day of the Pentecost as we can read in Acts chapter two. Members of the church of God received the same when we accept Christ and His words. We therefore received His mercy, forgiveness of sins we committed and the wounds that afflicted us because of sins were cleansed and healed. When we were baptized we received the comfort and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 41; Matthew 16:18). “Give praise to the Lord, O my soul; let not all his blessings go from your memory. He has forgiveness for all your sins; he takes away all your diseases.” (Psalms 103:2-3)
The Bible tells us that only God can heal the wounds of our soul. We do not have the strength and ability to make it well by ourselves alone. Only God can cure us and comfort our soul. “I said, Lord, have mercy on me; make my soul well, because my faith is in you.” (Psalms 41:4)
What do God expects from us now that we had received His comfort and healing?
Like David, who received mercy and healing from God, he praised God and thanked Him for the forgiveness of his sins and healing the wounds of his soul. The same goes for us. God wants us to praise Him because He is the only one who did that for us. “Give praise to the Lord, O my soul; let everything in me give praise to his holy name. Give praise to the Lord, O my soul; let not all his blessings go from your memory. He has forgiveness for all your sins; he takes away all your diseases.” (Psalms 103:1-3)
God expects those who were forgiven more will show more love, passion and more desire on serving Him. (Luke 7:42-43)
In the story of the ten lepers who got healed by Christ, only one returned to glorify and worship God (Luke 17:12-17) Are we like the one who returned and give what is due to God or are we one of the others who did not showed gratitude at all?