Last week I posted about the death of my brother Dan HERE. In the post I revealed that I said goodbye to him on October 25, 1986 and his organs were donated on October 26.
I happened to be driving to work at 7 a.m. on the anniversary of his organ donation day, the same hour the plug was pulled. I imagined all the activity that was occurring 37 years prior as I grappled with the reality that people benefited from his death. The father who received his heart truly lived because Dan died. I wondered if any of the recipients are still alive.
Was God sad with me?
Years ago I received a call from an author friend, Steve Estes, who was writing, When God Weeps with Joni Eareckson Tada. He asked if I could help him write Appendix C in the book, Can God Experience Grief? I eagerly offered my help. Though he kindly gave me credit in the front pages, the truth is I handed him a mess and he re-wrote the appendix with little of my original work.
The appendix contains six points that support the view that God grieves. Point 3 states: The emotions of Jesus show that the Father feels as well. Steve included the following support: Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” and “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 10:30; 14:9). If Jesus’ heart went out to people in a variety of emotions, the Father’s heart does too. (page 245)
Jesus wept when he saw the sadness of people mourning the death of Lazarus: When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. (John 11:33-35) Just like Jesus wept when seeing the grief of those mourning the death of Lazarus, I think God was sad with me when Dan died too. After all, Jesus tells Phillip, Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:9)
Jesus is described as a man of sorrows: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)
Was God sad when He watched His innocent Son die?
Some say Christ’s death was not the same as we suffer when loved ones die. After all, God knew Jesus was going to be alive again in three days to reign in heaven again forever. Even though God knew Jesus was going to raise from the dead, what happened that day was criminal. An innocent man was sentenced to a cruel death. God the Father and Son had enjoyed an eternal relationship of perfect intimacy prior to Jesus being clothed in flesh. Christ’s heart understandably broke as He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), so God must have felt the same. I imagine God drumming His fingers while waiting for the first glimmer of sunrise to appear on Easter morning. Though His Son had to die in order to pay the price for the forgiveness of our sins, I don’t believe the God-man Jesus was dead a split second longer than He had to be.
I was comforted.
By the time I arrived at work around 8:30 a.m. on October 26, I was comforted by the truth that God had been sad with me during October of 1986, and He is still sad with me today when those tender moments happen or the waves of grief hit hard again. The pain of death in our world is crushing, but God’s love stays near. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
God’s emotions, unlike ours, are sinless.
Though this deviates a bit from the point of the post, this is my favorite of Steve’s six points in Appendix C. I have not forgotten this principle since I first read these words in 1997. When you and I see emotions in the Bible, we must be careful not to evaluate them according to our limited and skewed human experience. When we think God’s emotions are “too much,” — either too harsh or too joyful — the problem is never God. Rather, the problem lies in us not agreeing with God about the severity or goodness of something. God’s type and level of emotion about every situation, whether angry or joyful, is always perfect! If we trust that, then we can start to face the truth about various behaviors, ideas, heart conditions, etc.
God never lets His children go.
Through each of our journeys with grief, God’s love remains unchanged. Though you and I can be sent spinning in confusion and pain, God and His love remain unchanged.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Picture Explanation: Our first two children turned 30. Our youngest left the nest. It’s been a week. (The pumpkin heavily decorated with Dunkin’ Donut holes is how my hubby has decorated a pumpkin every single year for our kids.)
Speaking of God’s nearness to us in a chaotic world: If you are interested in being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and send me an email so I can place you on a list to be contacted as online and face-to-face studies are planned. Let’s not just focus on things in this short life, but also what counts for eternity!
All 6 of Steve’s points in Appendix C: 1) …Passages about God repenting in the sense of “grieving” over sin and suffering are expanded by other Scriptures. 2) Other emotions of God seen to be non-figurative. 3) The emotions of Jesus show that the Father feels as well. 4) Acts 14:15 doesn’t necessarily teach that passions and emotions are foreign to God. 5) God’s emotions, unlike ours, are sinless. 6) Grief and joy can be experienced simultaneously.
Note: No part of my posts are derived from A.I. Thoughts and writing stem from my mind and heart as I process life week-by-week and continue to grow in my understanding of God and how to apply His wisdom to the world around me.
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