Today would have been the 25th birthday of Blake Morstad.
Instead, his wife and their 3 month old baby (Baby Blake) are "celebrating" his birthday without him. Addie has been a dear friend to me since high school - she is truly a kindred spirit in the "Addie=Anne-with-an-e and Molly=Diana" sort of way. We've walked and talked together through some pretty major phases of our lives. And I will never forget having coffee with her on January 2 when her dad called my cell phone and asked me to bring Addie home because something bad had happened.
The other day, my mom remarked that Addie had told her about Blake's friends going climbing in one of his favorite places, and it was "wrong" that he wasn't there.
Is it wrong to speak of "wrongs" in terms of the death of a loved one? I guess it depends on how you mean it.
I've been spending a lot of time in Job lately and if that book teaches us anything, it is that we have no right to question the doings of the Almighty or to say that he is doing us wrong. It struck me tonight while listening to a talk about Job that even if God had explained to Job what we know about his suffering (chapters 1-2), it wouldn't have really been a comfort to him. If I were Job, it would have probably pissed me off to know that I was a "pawn" in the game of God vs Satan (to say it crassly!). So the explanation that Job gets is that God is God; and Job's appropriate response is to place his hand over his mouth. No, we can't tell God that he's wrong in what he does.
BUT, I think a full-orbed biblical theology MUST say that it is wrong that people die. This is a consequence of sin. It is not natural. It is not the way things are supposed to be, and, apart from Christ's victory over the power of death, the fact that people die is an outrage. The more time I think about the joys of heaven in contrast to the innumerable and intense ways that we suffer on earth, the more I rejoice in the physical redemption of the world, in addition to the spiritual dynamics of salvation.
I won't prolong this discussion. If you want to read a great article about suffering, read Singing the Blues with Jesus and buy When God Weeps. I talked to Addie late Friday night, and she so far felt okay about Blake's birthday. But please join me today in praying for her and in weeping with her as we "wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom 8:23).