This past week our hearts were broken to hear of the passing of young Eli Clark. Many in the congregation know the family very well. I was first acquainted with Eli and his family through Ohio Valley Christian Camp a few years ago.
Since hearing about Eli’s cancer diagnosis and now his passing I have been asked why did God allow this to happen? This is similar to what Solomon asked in Ecclesiastes 7:15, “In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing.” It seems that even Solomon did not understand such situations. So, I do not pretend to understand why this happened to young Eli nor do I have all the answers. But, the scriptures do provide us with some comfort.
Such as Isaiah 57:1-2 which states, “The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.”
This passage reminds us that sometimes the devout and the righteous die and are taken away from calamity and enter God’s peace. For whatever the reason the righteous and devout are taken away from us, it may be that God is helping the individual avoid further or worse calamity, evil, or other troubles. For the Christian, death is not always a bad thing, sometimes God may allow it to protect us from more evil. Although for those who are left to continue to live upon this earth they miss and grieve for those who depart to the next life, we must take comfort that they have peace. Revelation 14:13 also reaffirms this by saying, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
In closing there are many questions when it comes to the death of a young person. Although God’s Word can comfort us, and we can have faith in the fact that God will take care of those who pass from this earth at an early age or any age. We still hurt and grieve the passing of our loved ones. Maybe we can relate to King David in 2 Samuel 12:22-23, He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
We each will go to the grave or meet Jesus Christ in the air at His second coming. Heb. 9:27 teaches, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” There are no promises in this life that we will live to an old age, but whether we are young or old Rev. 2:10 encourages us to, “…Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” May each one of us be faithful unto death, whenever that day may come.
Written by Mark T. Tonkery