What is God’s purpose in your struggles and loss? How is God using your tragedy to redeem you, your circumstances, and your future? Do you believe that he can and will work these things out for good for you? The death of Ezekiel’s wife is our example today…
15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. 17 Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”
18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.
19 Then the people asked me, “Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us? Why are you acting like this?”
24 Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’
Ezekiel 24:15-19, 24
Earlier this week I was studying Luke 12 and how, although the rich man stored up his possessions in large storehouses, God was about to call back his life and he would die that night. We all have a time limit on this earth. Ezekiel’s wife died with 24 hours notice to the prophet. That’s more than some people get. It’s less than others get.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away (Job 1:21). As much as we don’t understand it, it is life on earth. So what do we make of it?
There is redemption in God’s plan for us when we encounter such tragedy. Where we think there is no hope or purpose, God can redeem the situation go introduce his purpose. God can redeem our pasts and our futures. That’s what God was doing with Israel in the story of Ezekiel’s wife passing. God was using the death of Ezekiel’s wife in the redemptive process of Israel, which had turned from God and was undergoing discipline from the Lord.
Was the death of Ezekiel’s wife only for that purpose? Is that why she died? I don’t see anything in the story to indicate that she was or wasn’t going to die anyway. I don’t think the timing of her death is the point. I think the redemptive purpose in her death matters. It was a sign to Israel in how Ezekiel dealt with it.
And watch that – Ezekiel was instructed by God to be careful how he mourned. I would never say don’t mourn the loss of loved ones. Jesus himself wept (John 11:35) at the news of his own friend, Lazarus, passing away. Grief is God-given and natural.
I am convicted, though, to be careful not to carry the burden or the hurt so long and so hard that it becomes a barrier to God in his redemptive work. When we withhold healing from ourselves we block the experience of God’s work in us. When we obsess about what could have been, our obsession can consume us and prevent us from experiencing God’s redeemed future for us.
So what is God’s purpose in your struggles and loss? How is God using your tragedy to redeem you, your circumstances, and your future? Do you believe that he can and will work these things out for good for you (Romans 8:28)?