A Nation Shaken

A Nation Shaken
Recent events have left our country reeling with despair, frustration and questions. Like some of you, I viewed the bodies of Dr. Myles Munroe, his wife and colleague, Pastor Richard Pinder, Captain Stanley Thurston and co-pilot Frahkan Cooper on national news and in Tuesday’s newspaper. To say that I was not moved emotionally would be inaccurate! I was! In fact, the daily rehearsing of this tragic event by the media has not lessened the pain. I can only imagine how it must be for the families of all the victims of that deadly crash. It cannot be easy for them. The designation of ZNS, the national broadcasting station, may be most apropos- “A Nation Shaken.”
However, the news consisted of more than the tragedy of the nine lives that succumbed to the fatal crash of November 9th. Let me explain: another religious leader was eulogized and buried; several persons were murdered, and a fatal car accident took place in Grand Bahama. Our country has been jolted by deaths of various types and in various ways. Indeed, it is twirling with pain and grief. Added to these concerns is the unfortunate perception and interpretation of the country’s immigration policy by Amnesty International owing to the recent apprehension of illegal immigrants.
Amidst the grief and many unanswered questions, the Bahamas needs to turn to the Word of God for answers. What answers can be found given all the ills and concerns? Well, let’s explore the Word and allow it to speak for itself.
 
Looking at Death Through the Lens of the Bible
We may deduce from the Bible that God does not always intervene in the happenings of nature. The example of the death of John the Baptist sheds some light. While Jesus could have intervened in the case of John by sparing him the cruel death of Herod, He did not. Similarly, God could have prevented the “unfair death” of Jonathan, son of King Saul as well as save the Apostle Paul from many trials and suffering, but He did not. In 2 Timothy 3:12 we read, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Additionally, the Bible teaches that “the devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV). So apart from faults and mistakes on our part, we may rest assured that there is a force seeking to destroy. In fact, the Apostle Paul pointed out to the believers at Ephesus: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age . . ..” (Ephes. 6: 12, NKJV). Nevertheless, even if death should come or be permitted to take us, the same Apostle Paul clarifies that nothing shall “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
 
Not Absent from the Body and Present with the Lord
Also, he explains, “if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:14). Furthermore in verse 15 Paul adds,“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord.”  How then do we hear so many persons saying today, in particular, preachers that the dead – our friends and loved ones are already in heaven? One pastor wrote that they are having conversations with God and the angels. Such sayings sound good, but the word of God does not teach that. I was pleased to hear one of the local -popular talk show hosts correct his callers, “the dead are not in heaven yet.” He had it right. Folks use 1 Cor.5 to support their theory of being “absent from the body and present with the Lord.”  How unfortunate when a clearer reading of the same coupled with 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thess. 4 will show that Paul speaks of the assurance of the resurrection. Just go back to 1 Cor. 4:14 and it will become even clearer, “Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.”
As for all of the others, the word of God speaks to those as well! Sin has brought about an imbalance, and life is unfair at times. It is riddled with concern but the worse it gets the word of God is our only and surest hope. Like Priscilla J. Owens, I declare: “Give me the Bible, star of gladness gleaming . . .Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way.”