Finding God in Death

Four months ago, my brother-in-law passed away suddenly.  He decided to go out for a run before going to get a haircut and his heart gave out on him.  He was only 35 years old and he was the closest thing I had to a brother.

I don’t want to say I feel lost without him, but it still hurts.  My wife is devastated as she practically raised him.   His three kids are trying to learn how to deal with their emotions at the loss and figure out how their lives will now go.  His widow is basically engaged to a man who doesn’t pay child support or have a job.

I judged her pretty harshly when I first found out, but that has past.  God has shown me some of her damages so I understand why she is doing what she is doing.  It doesn’t excuse the damage she is doing to her kids or the hurt she is causing others, but I understand it more and I have sympathy.

So many things have gone through my mind once I found out.  That is the first time in a long time that I have felt shock.  I had no clue what to do, but I knew I had to be strong for the family.  I am not sure if I had to be strong, but that is what I felt like I needed to do.  I have cried so many tears in private, but I sucked it up for the family.

I questioned my relationship with God while trying to process it.  Not if God was real, but why didn’t he warn me that this was going to happen.  What if it could have been prevented and I was just too busy to hear the warning.  I thought about Jesus and wondered if I should have tried to pray for him to awake and walk.  That one kind of sounds silly, but if we are supposed to do what Jesus did then why not?

I am thankful for the time I have had with him but I regret the missed opportunities.  he wasn’t a Christian but he really wanted to believe.  I understand why he struggled and I know God did too.  I am not sure if that means he is saved, but I sure hope so.

What if I wasn’t too busy and I could have shared more with him?  I could have talked to him more and maybe he would have believed.  I think it is human nature to blame ourselves to some degree, but as a Christian I still feel some guilt for not doing more.  I know salvation was between him and God, but our words and actions will play a bearing on how people will react.  We are warned not to have idle words as we are responsible, in part, for what comes of them.

The loss came on the heels of struggling with my relationship as I pursued my degree in religion.  I didn’t think that studying the thing I loved would be so detrimental, but I love God and not the religion.  You cant really study God.  Either you get to know Him or you don’t.  Studying Christianity without walking it out is probably why so many people lose their faith when they think they are pursuing God.

I am not sure where I will go from here, but I know God has been waiting for me.  He talks to me and the prophecy is starting to come back.  He has helped me through this grief.  This grief is like none that I have ever experienced before, but now I can better relate to those who have suddenly lost someone .  I don’t think God took him so that I would learn this lesson, but it is something I will take out of it.

I know I cannot do what makes me happy without God.  I try, but I am always miserable.  My wife can spot it immediately, even though I try and deny it.  I know God is real because He has changed me.  I know He is real because He never left me.  I know He is real because He is always with me.  I think my brother-in-law knew He was real, because of my relationship with Him.

Jewish Resurrections and Afterlife

I had heard that there was no concept of hell in the Jewish faith until introduction of the Greek beliefs.

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Dan 12:1-3)

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain. (Isa 26:19-21)