Is Death An Accident or Appointment?
I’ve preached a lot of funerals in my 25 years of ministry. From the pre-mature baby, toddler, teenager, college student, those 0 to 99, and many in between. Many were called accidents and gone way too soon. For certain most of their loved ones were never ready to say goodbye. Yes, we all know death is a reality we each will face. However, it still seems to sneak up on us out of nowhere. I can’t tell you how many times after a death I’ve heard someone say “I just can’t believe they are really gone.”
Now, I could talk for hours about the grief process. But, I want to touch briefly on our perception of death. Are some deaths accidents and other’s appointments? It’s easy for us to call death an appointment if someone really old passes away of natural causes. Yet, death becomes much harder to embrace when the person is younger, suddenly dies, or seems to be the victim of some very unfortunate event. So, is death an appointment or accident? Oddly, I believe it can be both.
I know God gives us all free choice. Sadly, many have abused their freedom to choose. For example, God has never endorsed abortion or other forms of murder. God never told anyone to shoot random people with a machine gun. God never approved drunk driving or any form of careless living. God never ordered anyone to commit suicide. Yet, there are so many deaths that leave loved ones shaking their head in disbelief. I believe there are so many deaths that we just can’t believe were God’s will.
I can assure you that if something happened to one of my children I would initially go in shock. If God took my wife regardless of how things happened I would be devastated. In fact, if I was on my own death bed I would feel like the doctors must be confused. Why? Because I don’t feel like it’s my time and I’ve still got much kingdom work to do. It’s just natural that any death that happens without our permission is not accepted well.
Scripture is clear that we’ve all got an appointed time of earthly departure. We might not feel ready at that time, but the Bible says there is a time to be born and a time to die. That whether we feel it’s enough or not God has numbered all our days. I believe God knows exactly how long each of us will live on this earth. Therefore, our birth nor our death takes Him by surprise.
Just because someone didn’t plan to get pregnant we don’t call those children accidents. Why? Because we know that God is the ultimate giver of life. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder for us to feel this way about death that seems so unfair, pre-mature, or just plain wrong. Now, I do share many of your feelings towards death. I also believe the Bible is clear that death never takes God by surprise. God always has the final word when it comes to our earthly departure.
So, maybe you’ve loss someone that you never dreamed would be gone so soon. Maybe the cause or timing of their death just seems so unacceptable. God may agree with you completely, but it still doesn’t mean it wasn’t their time. I believe it’s in the midst of our most complicated grief that we can’t just look at everything as an accident, but sometimes a divine appointment. Only then can we be free to move forward. Knowing that if God knew what would happen with them then He knows what is planned for us now. I’m not saying it all makes sense, but really from our viewpoint death rarely does.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)
“It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”