My partner and I just finished transferring a patient to a hospital. We were in good spirits from a relaxed atmosphere due to exchanging laughs with our patient. We continued the topic between ourselves as we laughed with one another while getting ready for dispatch to put us back into service.
Then we received a 911 call for a heart attack. The moment we heard the call, silence ensued, we tensed up, actions became efficient and deliberate as we picked up our pace. Once again, it was time to get serious.
After responding to dispatch in a calm yet stern voice, I buckled up for an anticipated intense drive across a populated city of Anoka into northern Ramsey on a Saturday night. I switched on the emergency lights and siren and started booking it for the general area of the call as my partner looked up directions on our computer. As were splitting through traffic, siren blaring and engine roaring, not a word spoken except for direction.
“Right on Ferry St. to 156th, right. Cleared on the right”, spoke my partner in a loud firm tone as we blasted by stopped vehicles while going through an intersection. Then silence repeated itself in the background of a whaling siren as we both processed the upcoming scenario while ensuring a safe yet fast arrival. In a heart attack, minutes matter, seconds count. No time is afforded to be wasted.
Upon arrival to a scene that filled an otherwise quiet, still, dark night with the flares of red, white, and blue lights from fire and police vehicles, reflecting off houses and trees blocks away, we entered a chaotic yet organized environment and went to work. Every second was vital.
The unfortunate and heartbreaking outcome after 45 minutes of intensity, as with a majority of cardiac arrests, was death. Again, the all too familiar, eerily silence filled the air as the time of death was called. With sweat dripping down the side of my face, I took a moment to take in the scene of a husband lost, laying lifeless on the ground where he fell and a wife weeping in the background. As we covered a beloved man, a neighbor, a father, it hit me that the lives of his family and friends would be forever changed. Someone’s world has been turned upside down in an instant; everything they have known has been changed and it was because of death.
As we quietly traveled back to base to restock supplies, I came to terms with the picture of another blank, motionless, empty, lifeless stare etched into memory. The common denominator of my thoughts was I hate death passionately. I mean, I really hate it. I despise it. I loathe and detest it. After seeing what it does to not only people but their families, I get angry.
I get even angrier when I entertain thoughts of it being God’s will. I know it is not. I hear people say that “God took their loved one away”, and inside I see the hurt and pain they are still clinging on too, that they cannot break free from. As long as they attribute God to taking away their loved one, they will be forever attached to the hurt and pain that ensued their traumatic event. And for some, it becomes their identity. Their identity is more grounded on them being a widow than in the life, fullness, and wholeness of God’s love. They never give themselves a chance to heal and recover, to grow, because they are living in the presence of a god whose death is a part of his nature and character. This is not the God I know. Here is why:
First off, in order to get the true picture of God’s nature and character, you have to look at what He created or what His intent was, what He holds together (Colossians 1:17), before man had a chance to pervert it through free-will. And this was life in the Garden of Eden before creation fell through sin. Before creation fell, there was perfect provision. Adam and Eve were whole, free of sickness and death. But most of all, there was perfect relation with God. Adam and Even, we as mankind, were created and designed to live forever in perfect relation to God. This was God’s original design; this was His intent. This is His nature and character, free of death, full of life.
The second reason is that death cuts off what we have been created to live in: love. We were created to live in relationships. God has given us the ability to love and receive the love of others because it is a shadow of the perfect relation we have been created to have with Him. We become whole and complete in the relation of another through becoming one flesh with them. Why would God give us the ability to be one flesh with another, then have a desire to rip it away from us? The reason that God gives us the ability to love another through relationships, just to take it away, is not logical. It is not consistent with Him bringing us an abundance of life (John 10:10). It is characteristic of the enemy that comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Death breaks the cycle of love that we were created to have with one another, forever I might add, whether in marriage or in friendships.
Third, death is a result of the curse. Death came into the world when sin did, not creation. Death is a result of sin, not the plan, desire, nor will of God. Being death is a result of the curse, saying that God took a loved one away via death would be the same as saying He took a loved one away via sin. If the only cause of death is sin, if we attribute death to God, we also attribute sin to God. This also is not logical.
Our last reason is God does not need our loved ones in heaven. There are no reasons to take them home. There are no lost people in heaven, there are no lives to save. There is no darkness that needs to be exposed to light. In fact, Paul had this debate in Philippians 1:26. He acknowledged that He desired to go home and be with Jesus, but it was better for them (and us) for him to remain in this world to proclaim the gospel. God does not take loved ones away through death. There are only 2 people we know of who God took away, Enoch and Elija, and they were both taken alive.
This is why this inaccurate theology lights a fire under me. Believing that death is from God or is a tool used by God keeps people from living in His wholeness. How can we have a confident expectation of God’s goodness if we believe He will take a loved one away from us at any time? How can we live in the peace and stability of God’s presence if we believe that God may separate what He has given us, what has become one flesh through marriage?
God is love. There is fullness, wholeness, and completeness in His presence, in His being. There is no room for death. This is why I hate death; it is the polar opposite of what God desires for us, the polar opposite of His nature and character.
After all, Christ conquered death. Why would He use it on not only our loved ones, but His loved ones? Death is not natural to us. We were not created to experience it.