PART 12 THE FACETS OF DEATH
PART 12 THE FACETS OF DEATH
A BETTER PLACE
After reading this study, has your perception of God, of prayer, and of death changed? I hope so. What has resonated with me are two things. The first has to do with prayer to God concerning intervening in someone’s life for healing sickness from impending death. We have learned that there are times when God will heal someone immediately or will provide healing at a different time or will not provide healing at all. Obviously, the most difficult of these three options is healing from impending death that never occurs. This is painful, and in many cases, can cause us to harbor bitterness, resentment, and anger toward God.
Is there anything else that could be said that was not already addressed in this study concerning this topic?
Yes, there is. I found an article that I believe puts this into a much clearer perspective. Please read this, and after which, we will talk about the second thing that has resonated with me.
UNANSWERED PRAYERS AND THE DIALECTIC OF DISAPPOINTMENT WITH GOD
Everyone has experienced disappointment because of “unanswered” prayers. Think of a loved one who has suffered, a family member who falls from the faith, a dream that has fallen by the wayside. Trust in God is shattered when God fails to deliver on important prayers. So much hinges on whether or not God really does answer prayer that it's devastating when God doesn’t respond the way we want him to, especially when those prayers are for [things] we believe are good – things that God ought to want to do.
Does God really always answer our prayers? That’s what is taught in Sunday school anyway, but it doesn’t always feel like it. As we grow older, we realize that things don’t always work out the way we had hoped. This shouldn’t cause us to give up on prayer, or worse, give up on God. The truth is that God always answers prayer, but in order to see how, we must have an open mind and an open heart.
There are two ways “unanswered” prayers can turn out – one is coherently, and the other is [mysterious]. There are times when God doesn’t answer a prayer the way we [want,] and we will never know why. Something terrible is about to [happen,] and we pray against it, but it happens anyway, and there is no possible human way to reconcile why God might have allowed it to happen. This does happen. But experience tells me that this is rare, and usually, our disappointment or disillusionment is the beginning of something more.
What we must be willing to consider is that we have a tendency to miss out on the ways God is answering our prayers. If we allow disappointment with God to lead us to the conclusion that God doesn’t [care] or that God doesn’t answer our prayers, we miss a tremendous growth opportunity as well as an opportunity to see God move in response to our prayers. There are numerous ways this can work [out] but consider just a couple [of] possibilities.
First, God could be saying, “Yes, but wait.”
In many instances, God is answering our prayer, just not at the speed that we may want. God has his reasons and his timing, and sometimes it is for our benefit that he makes us wait. Imagine what our relationship with God would look like if prayer took no effort and God simply gave us whatever we asked for whenever we asked for it. God is no genie in a bottle. If he allowed us to treat him that way, we'd lose our respect for him. Only newborn babies can get whatever they want whenever they want it.
Think of a time God answered a prayer such that the timing worked towards your [advantage].
Sometimes, God is saying, “Yes, but not like that.”
We can never be too careful about putting parameters on God for how God will work and answer our prayers. It's not up to us to determine how God will fulfill our prayers. God has his way of doing things, and we hurt only ourselves if we insist upon God doing something a certain way. When God does indeed answer our prayer, we continue in our disappointment because our eyes are not open to his way of doing things. If we are [open-minded] about how God answers our prayers, we will be delighted to see that God oftentimes does answer prayers we thought had been unanswered.
To be realistic, sometimes, God also says, “no.”
But, God’s “no” is always, “I have something better in mind.” It’s important to [remember] that a “no” is not the same as an unanswered prayer. An unanswered prayer would be one in which you got no response. Think of “no’s” as good. Be thankful you got a response. But also remember, part of the whole reason we pray is to discern God’s will. A “no” shouldn’t be taken as God not [caring] or God ignoring you. A “no” means that God has something else in mind, and God is always going to do what’s in your best interest. We must learn to trust that and use even the hard experiences of “no” to guide us more fully into the life that God has for us.
Think of a time God said “no.” What [larger,] greater purpose might God have had in mind when he answered your prayer in the negative?
Remember that God wants us to lift up prayers for all things. It is inevitable that we will pray prayers that leave us feeling disappointed, but remembering that God is a loving Father who wants to give good things to his children, we must never allow disappointment with God to lead to unbelief or giving up on prayer, but must allow this suffering to make us stronger and ever more reliant on his grace and love. The ultimate goal of prayer is not that we get everything we want, but that we grow to realize more and more that our life, our joy, our satisfaction, our [essence] is found in our relationship with God. Even in disappointment, God is teaching us how to pray and what to become.38
The second thing that resonated with me in this study has to do with God providing protection of a loved one in respect to physical safety.
We have learned that death can occur to anyone at any time regardless of whether the person was a born-again Christian or someone who doesn’t believe in God. Do you remember the story about those unbelievers who died when a tower unexpectedly fell upon [them,] and someone asked Jesus was this because they were sinners above all else? Jesus’ answer was that this was not the case. And then he made this remarkable statement, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. The word repent means to change one’s mind and conduct. And the word perish means to not necessarily die in the same manner, but in every case without salvation.
Some believe that when a person [dies,] their body goes into the ground, and that’s it. Others believe that when someone dies, they come back as someone else. And there are still others who believe in a better place waiting for them after death. But [here,] the ultimate [question remains].
Is there a way for someone to know for sure what their destiny will be after death?
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
Jesus said, He is the way to bring any person to His Father, who resides in a place called heaven.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
1 John 3:24b …And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
These verses give us the clarification we need as to what is required of us to go to a heavenly place at physical death. You might ask, can I get there by giving money? Can I get there by trying to be a better person? Can I get there by going to church? Can I get there by performing good works?
Two things are needed. Repent (acknowledge and turn from your sins; proclaim that you are a sinner to God the Father) and believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, as to who He is and what He has accomplished, and you will receive the Holy Spirit; Who will provide you with His presence, a new nature, and assurance of eternal life, a life that will never end residing in heaven forever and ever.
If you are not a believer, then you have read this book for a reason, and now a decision is placed before you. When you die, where will you spend eternity? Before you die, will you get to know God in a personal way? And if you choose to get to know Him personally, you can also share these truths to your daughter, son, father, mother, friends, etc., so that if something happens to their physical well-being, you can rest assured that there are in a better place waiting for the time when you will meet them there.
If you would like to know that you will spend your life in heaven immediately at death along with having the opportunity to get to know Him now in a personal way in this life, then confess this prayer quietly or out loud.
I acknowledge that I have sinned in many areas such as slandering others; having sexual relations outside of marriage; being jealous; having participated in alcohol or drug abuse; having sex with others of the same gender; having committing adultery; having taken money from others in a deceitful manner; having committed rape; having engaged in pedophilia, etc.
I don’t want to continue in these mental, verbal, and overt sins. I need a new nature.
I believe in you Jesus Christ as one of the members of the trinity, who as God pre-existed time; came to the earth and took on the form of a man, being born of a virgin (no sin nature); lived a sinless life; listened to and obeyed the directives of his Father; went to the cross and paid for the penalty of and forgave the sins of the whole world; rose from the dead after 3 days, never to die again, walked the earth in his resurrection body for 40 days witnessing to over 500 people; and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.
Congratulations, you have now received the indwelling Spirit. You are a new person. Death is defeated. Welcome to your new life in Christ.
Thanks for reading this book, and I hope you will take the time to take a look at my website: https://makingtheonerightchoice.com. And one more thing. If you would like to correspond with me, my email is email@example.com. God Bless You!
38Benjamin Spalink, “Unanswered Prayers and the Dialectic of Disappointment with God,” 2012. City Grace Church. <http://www.citygraceny.com/unansweredprayer>.
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