Monday, January 23, 2012

Assurance Amidst Breakdown

On November 17, 2011 I posted “System Breakdown,” detailing the idea that the breakdown of even one of the many hundreds of systems of our body could result in serious health problems. All our systems operate successfully most of the time. I implied that the breakdown of two or three systems at once could trigger a cascade resulting in complete system shutdown. When physical death occurs in a precious, close family member, we experience the acute pain of severed human bonds. In reality, those bonds depend on a rather fragile physical existence. The Book of James does not equivocate: “How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone" (James NLT).

With great sadness I must report the passing of my older brother, my only sibling, David Virkler, from this life to the next. He was gifted with the ability to speak with biblical authority on the reality of spiritual death through sin and the remedy for it in Jesus Christ. We had precious fellowship concerning this reality. During our times of sharing I would sometimes test him with scientific challenges of how the operation of the scientific Law of Decay connected with the biblical “law” of spiritual decay. For most of our lives the Law of Decay enables our temporal physical systems to function quite successfully. We have attempted to detail that success in our blog posts for the past two months.

Now we are called upon to report that the operation of the Law of Decay has claimed a precious family member. Our assurance that the Law of Decay supports the existence of nearly seven billion presently living human beings on this planet does not remove the grief we feel at the departure of our loved one. Even the sorrow we experience, however, is a testimony to the gifts of ministry David possessed and the privilege of his family and friends to share them.

Those who do not believe in God’s sovereignty may become angry with God, or they may doubt His goodness. On the Sunday morning of David’s last day on earth, our pastor’s sermon closed with some startlingly appropriate truths. I quote him: “But let me ask you…do you accept the sovereignty of God over ALL things? Is your view of God big enough…that He is even in control of the bad things that happen? Romans tells us that God is in control of ALL things! The good and the bad. And that through them all, God is working out His good purpose for His loved ones.

“Listen to Romans …And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Now I know that many of you have been through some terrible things…unspeakable things. And it seems to be a very bitter pill to swallow that God is in control of even those things. And it IS a very bitter pill to swallow.

“But we need to embrace the sovereignty of God even over bad things…Because the alternative is that God is not aware of those things. Or that He couldn’t stop them. Or that He has no purpose in them. But God’s word tells us, and we can believe it by faith, that God is in control of ALL things. And that in all of them, he is working out his good purposes for His people.”