READ : Isaiah 57:1-21
Peace, peace . . . says the Lord . . . I will heal them. (v. 19 NRSV)
This world can be a harsh, unfair place for the Lord’s people. Isaiah makes this clear.
He notes how “the righteous perish,” and that “no one understands.” Indeed, people often
say there is no explanation for suffering.
The Bible, however, is full of explanations, only they are not the sort of explanations
we think we want! The Lord does not offer reasons which fit in with our idea of a logical
universe. But he does offer reasons. Here, he reveals that he sometimes “takes away” his
people to save them from impending calamity (v. 1).
We, of course, “are never told what would have happened” (as Aslan wisely says in the
Chronicles of Narnia). But by faith we can always be sure that there is no such thing as
“untimely death,” and we can certainly affirm that the Lord never acts except to secure
peace—true, eternal peace—for his people. It is always better for them when “the
righteous”—those who are right with him—have (in the world’s eyes) perished. It
is eternally to their benefit that “the devout”—literally, “the men of steadfast
love,” that is, those who know the Lord’s unchanging love—should be taken away. We
are fixated with earth; he is always planning for heaven.
Help us see how precious to you is the death of your saints.