Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life and Death

من سفر رؤيا يوحنا اللاهوتي الاصحاح 21 بركاته علينا أمين

ثُمَّ رَأَيْتُ سَمَاءً جَدِيدَةً وَأَرْضاً جَدِيدَةً، لأَنَّ السَّمَاءَ الأُولَى وَالأَرْضَ الأُولَى مَضَتَا، وَالْبَحْرُ لاَ يُوجَدُ فِي مَا بَعْدُ. وَأَنَا يُوحَنَّا رَأَيْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ الْمُقَدَّسَةَ أُورُشَلِيمَ الْجَدِيدَةَ نَازِلَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللهِ مُهَيَّأَةً كَعَرُوسٍ مُزَيَّنَةٍ لِرَجُلِهَا. وَسَمِعْتُ صَوْتاً عَظِيماً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ قَائِلاً: «هُوَذَا مَسْكَنُ اللهِ مَعَ النَّاسِ، وَهُوَ سَيَسْكُنُ مَعَهُمْ، وَهُمْ يَكُونُونَ لَهُ شَعْباً. وَاللهُ نَفْسُهُ يَكُونُ مَعَهُمْ إِلَهاً لَهُمْ. وَسَيَمْسَحُ اللهُ كُلَّ دَمْعَةٍ مِنْ عُيُونِهِمْ، وَالْمَوْتُ لاَ يَكُونُ فِي مَا بَعْدُ، وَلاَ يَكُونُ حُزْنٌ وَلاَ صُرَاخٌ وَلاَ وَجَعٌ فِي مَا بَعْدُ، لأَنَّ الأُمُورَ الأُولَى قَدْ مَضَتْ». وَقَالَ الْجَالِسُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ: «هَا أَنَا أَصْنَعُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ جَدِيداً». وَقَالَ لِيَ: «اكْتُبْ، فَإِنَّ هَذِهِ الأَقْوَالَ صَادِقَةٌ وَأَمِينَةٌ». ثُمَّ قَالَ لِي: «قَدْ تَمَّ! أَنَا هُوَ الأَلِفُ وَالْيَاءُ، الْبِدَايَةُ وَالنِّهَايَةُ. أَنَا أُعْطِي الْعَطْشَانَ مِنْ يَنْبُوعِ مَاءِ الْحَيَاةِ مَجَّاناً. مَنْ يَغْلِبْ يَرِثْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ، وَأَكُونُ لَهُ إِلَهاً وَهُوَ يَكُونُ لِيَ ابْناً

I have never thought of death as a bad thing, on the contrary. As mentioned in the above verses, I have seen death as the door that opens to our ultimate purpose and dream in life: heaven, and I've wished for it over and over again..

I have been through a lot of experiences of death of people I know, especially lately.. It's always been hurtful and so cruel, and in spite of that I have rarely cried during funerals, although I am a sensitive person. But I sometimes ask myself, "What is life? A plan put by us or God?" In matters like life and death, it's God of course, but how can we convince ourselves that God is fair and loving when our loved ones go away from us and leave us feeling unhappy?

Isaiah said: "Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you."

هَلْ تَنْسَى الْمَرْأَةُ رَضِيعَهَا فَلاَ تَرْحَمَ ابْنَ بَطْنِهَا؟ حَتَّى هَؤُلاَءِ يَنْسِينَ وَأَنَا لاَ أَنْسَاكِ""

Yet we seem to forget this a lot during our daily lives… we think that we're lonely and we grow fearful, forgetting that we're commanded by Him.

Another thing I've learnt lately, surprisingly, is that we have control over a very small part of our lives, and the rest is to be determined by God. Before, I was convinced that it's the opposite case: that God knows what we'll do, but we have all the freedom to determine our lives. I realized I was wrong. Yes, we have the freedom to sin or not to sin, to eat, to study, etc …but we don't have the ability to control our feelings, our emotions, our matters-of-life-and-death decisions and our fate… and that's a long story I may write about it later.

That's why with this philosophy about death and the fact that we don't control our lives and that we are led and not leading, we realize how helpless we are to change the things that make us unhappy. The challenge here is to have so much faith in God, to believe that He wants the best for us, and this way you'll put our lives TOTALLY in his hands…but this is not such an easy thing to do. It takes time, and the human nature worries a lot. We can't just let go and not think about our problems! But let's face it, it's the truth: if we can't control it, why do we think about it? Why does it make us sad? And most importantly, why do we worry and try to change the unchangeable? But it's normal, even King David said in Psalm 88 that he is "distraught", he kept asking God: "Why do You cast off my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me?"

لِمَاذَا يَا رَبُّ تَرْفُضُ نَفْسِي؟ لِمَاذَا تَحْجُبُ وَجْهَكَ عَنِّي؟ 15 أَنَا مَِسْكِينٌ وَمُسَلِّمُ الرُّوحِ مُنْذُ صِبَايَ. احْتَمَلْتُ أَهْوَالَكَ. تَحَيَّرْتُ

So, even David, who was so great, wanted answers from God about the bad things happening in his life, what about us?!

So don't worry when you keep asking God questions, you will ask, you will not receive immediate answers, but surely there's one place to seek consolation and comfort from: The Bible. I personally like Psalms 31, 88 and 90. And there is one big lesson in life that teaches more than anything, and that is certainly: "DEATH"

May God bless us all…

Psalm 31

Psalm 88

Psalm 90