I don’t like the phrase resting in peace.
And while I make get flak for my opinion, and actually have already in conversations with people, I don’t like the phrase because I do not believe that everyone who dies is resting in peace.
I know we are not to judge other people’s hearts, there is biblical support for that, but we are allowed to judge the actions of a person; their fruit. And when someone lives a life that is in total opposition to God, I’m not going to assume they are in heaven. In that case, the Bible is very clear about the immense anguish and suffering one will endure for eternity in hell. There is no peace in that. (I don’t say this to scare you or offend you if someone you love fits in this category. We can’t change the past. We can only take account for ourselves.)
The good thing is that I don’t need to focus on what happens to someone after they die. So I promise I’m not going all Pat Robertson on you. There’s a point to this.
Because on the flip side, when someone who has professed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and has lived a life bearing much good fruit and was faithful in their faith daily, we can rejoice with certainty about where they will spend eternity. On Tuesday evening, my best friend’s mother passed away after an aggressive two-year battle with cancer. What compounded this tragedy was that two years prior to her mother’s diagnosis, my friend (and her two sisters) lost their father in a tragic construction accident. So many people have survived much more than a 15-story fall. Why didn’t God save my friend’s father? So many women beat breast cancer. Why didn’t Debbie?
Because that would not have brought God glory.
I know that’s a bitter pill for people who don’t believe to swallow. But in my heart it’s true. I was created for God’s glory–my life and everything that happens in and through it is to make the name of His Son known. The good, the bad, the downright ugly and awful–what seems bad in our human, fleshly eyes is marvelous and glorious and meticulously planned in His.
We will never have all the answers on this side of heaven. And honestly, I am glad for that. Because I don’t think we could handle it if we did.
For the first time in my life, I have felt the weight of someone else’s sadness in a way that breaks me to the core. Sobbing from the pit of my stomach, I am crying out for the Lord to heal my best friend, her sisters, and their children–that their pain could be softened. Why God has chosen to place the many–often unbearable–obstacles in their way, I am not sure. But I have long told my best friend, He is weaving the most beautiful story through her (and them).
The second I heard the song Already There from the new Casting Crowns album, I immediately thought of my best friend.
From where I’m standing
Lord, it’s so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You’re leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are going to play out
In a world I can’t control
When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
‘Cause You’re already there
You’re already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You’re already there
You’re already there
From where You’re standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture-perfect plan
One day I’ll stand before You
And look back on the life I’ve lived
I can’t wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit
It is so hard to understand why God has orchestrated her life in the way He has. But in the midst of all the questions she has, none of it is a surprise to our Lord. He is already there. He knows and He is waiting. And one day, she will stand before him–and see how all the pieces fit. Every hurt, every tragic event, every tear, every anguish–in one second, it will all make sense. And that will be a beautiful moment.
For right now, Debbie is having her moment. We stand in full confidence that what we have prayed for two years has come to pass–she is fully healed. She is dancing with her Savior; worshipping Him in the better life we as believers wish to have and in the place we wish to be. Where there are no more hurts, tragic events, tears, nor anguish. She is resting in peace. Peace she received when she accepted that she was a sinner who needed a Savior. And that a Savior who lived a perfect life, was murdered on a cross, and rose again made the way for her to have that peace.
It’s a peace we can have here on earth too. It does not mean perfect days. But it does mean when those tragedies come and we’re sobbing from the pits of our stomach, we know it will be okay. We’re sad, but we feel content in knowing it was His plan. His will.
I pray you choose to rest in His peace today.
And if you are the praying nature, please pray for my best friend and her family. Their loss in overwhelming. But we trust in a God that will show great mercy and compassion on them as they navigate this difficult road and walk the new normal they will have to create and adjust to.
Resting in Him alone,