What About Untimely Death?

What About Untimely Death?

If God works all things according to the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28), why do some believers suffer and die? It is helpful to remember when answering hard questions like this that it is always gain for a Christian to die (Phil 1:21). God will sometimes override the good thing of temporal provision to bring the better thing of going to be with him (Phil 1:23).

This is not a surprise, even for the Christian, because no person this side of Christ’s second coming escapes physical death.

But what about untimely death? Think about the thief on the cross suffering and believing in Jesus. His encouragement in the face of brutal pain was, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). He was dying in agony but eternal good was coming. With failing lungs and a heart of faith he grasped the better and breathed his last.

However, I do not say that dying is better for everyone. There was another thief, who “railed at [Jesus]” (Luke 23:39), and his tortuous death gave way not to paradise, but to the more unimaginable and lasting pain of hell. His last labored breath was his last taste of grace.

But, praise God, for the believer in Jesus Christ, the better thing of death that may not immediately seem good is part of God’s backwards ordering of the world.

A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1