That Damn Snake.

I doubt this will make much sense to anyone but me.  It’s my way of working through grief.  I’ll de-post it after I work through it.  More than likely it will seem to be gibberish to anyone else.

I said it at John Robert’s funeral and I’ll keep saying it- death sucks. For the living. We just can’t make sense of it. Though we try. Sometimes we say it must have been God’s will. Or it was meant to be. Or God must have needed another angel in heaven (as if the legions He commands aren’t already enough). I don’t believe any of those statements are true. John Robert wasn’t killed because God is some sort of mafia don who put a contract on his head because his time was up. Or because it was His will.

Death sucks for the living because we were not equipped to deal with it. It was never God’s design that we should have to say goodbye to our loved ones. That we must is an aberration. Because death is now a reality we have come to accept it’s pain as normal. It’s actually abnormal in view of God’s original intent (will) when He created us.

Remember- Adam and Eve were free to eat from the tree of life. Although they were flesh and bone they were immortal. As were their John Roberts. The stages of grief would have been as foreign to them as is the concept of immortal mortals is to us.

In the beginning for what, or for whom, did Adam and Eve mourn? Their base of knowledge was wholly limited to their experiences in Paradise. And what God told them. The range of their emotions was confined to what one would feel from perfect provision, perfect creation and perfect trust. They knew nothing beyond this.

But there was that damn snake. And the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And they wanted to be like God. They wanted to know the things God knows. So they ate. And they knew.

Human minds were suddenly burdened by a load they were never meant to bear. The circuitry was quickly overloaded. The simplicity of trust was lost among a jumble of terrible knowledge and confusing what ifs. Now they would share with God His knowledge of infinite possibilities, infinite choices and infinite paths. The human mind is overwhelmed because we were designed to know one path. Trust. In God.

When Cain killed Abel what a shock it must have been for the first parents. They lost two sons. There was nothing in their experience or emotions to remotely prepare them for the death of a child. Heretofore, death had been a knowledge of God matter. Now the human spirit groaned under the strain that came from knowing the deep things of God.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, Adam and Eve never ate the fruit yet Cain still killed Abel. Would they have experienced grief? I think so. With a twist. In this scenario they are not aware of the things God never meant for them to know. They are only aware of what they were created to know and what was given them to know. Their trust in God is complete and perfect. So, when God says, “Abel is in a better place.” or “He isn’t really dead.” Adam and Eve’s response would have flowed from their absolute confidence in God. Their grieving process would have been vaporized by trust. God said it would be okay. God said we would see him again. God said he’s happy. God has never let us down so what’s for supper?

However, they wanted to know as God knows. Consequently, when Abel died that knowledge stole their comfort, robbed their sleep and haunted their days. Like God they were now aware of endless possibilities. Instead of receiving comfort from trust and truth their limited brains strained to understand God things. Such as, “Would he still be alive if we had refused to eat the fruit?” or “What if we had raised them differently?” or “What if I had taken Cain fishing today like I promised?” or “What if I had done this or that differently?” or “What if I had insisted he come home when he called?”

Those questions were introduced into the world of men by their desire to be like God. The road of trust was obscured by myriads and millions of blue and red lines on a map intended for God’s eyes only. I think it’s possible that if the fruit had never been sampled by anyone we wouldn’t even be aware the questions existed to be asked. I think it’s a mercy He pretects us from knowing the answers. That kind of knowledge would cause me to put a bullet in my brain.

Death wasn’t part of the plan. It wasn’t, or isn’t, God’s will for any father or mother to bury their child. If it was I wouldn’t much care for Him. John Robert died because Adam and Eve listened to that damn snake and unleashed a curse from which none of us are immune. John Robert was/is a great person. One of the things I liked/like about him was/is his wit. The guy was/is funny the way I like funny. Flawed? Yes (not anymore). Tempted? No doubt (not anymore). But He dearly loved/loves Jesus Christ. He wasn’t spared from his fate for any of those reasons. Nor was he killed because of them. He died in our realm because it is fallen and bad things happen to good people just as they happen to evil people. If there is to be any meaning in his death it is up to those of us who knew him. Our response to his death is what will empower John Robert to continue his ministry in our world.

Meanwhile how it must grieve the heart of God to see our feeble minds strain under the load of endless possiblities and what ifs. Questions born of having a dim and incomplete awareness of what it is to be like God.

I think mourning is a process in which our minds labor valiantly to reject the deep things of God. Being aware of only a fraction of what God knows prolongs our grief, in a sense, because we never quit wondering what might have happened if another path had been chosen. Grief is one way our original equipment seeks to restore itself. The emotions are striving to reboot our hard drive to its pre-set factory condition. A condition that rejects being like God in favor of trust Him. The heart seeks to purge the mind of stolen knowledge in order to quell the nagging questions. This leads to unconditional acceptance which is exactly the state for which man was designed to cope. Even to prosper.  In this state of non-knowledge when our Heavenly Father tells us our loved one is in a better place we believe Him. And we are comforted. Not to mention happy for those we love.

Perhaps the final stage of grief for a believer is jealousy. As in “Lucky him!”



  1. hmmm, it made perfect sense to me.
    Damn snake indeed!

  2. Thank you for standing with me Craig. I love you so much.

  3. Well said. Swindoll writes in his latest book (Jesus: The Greatest Life of All) “Grief is essentially the process of adjusting your mind to accept a radically new situation. The sooner you accept that you will not get your way, the sooner you’ll heal” (p.255). Adam and Eve did a number on the family and we’ve been grieving over it ever since.

  4. Wonderful post brother.
    I enjoyed reading your blog and look to reading it often.
    I hope you have a blessed weekend.


  6. Please leave it up Craig. Not being able to understand why hurtful things happen…sometimes makes us feel like maybe we don’t have enough faith. That maybe we are not trusting God. But that is not necessarily so. We trust God the best we can. We just don’t understand why things happen. We see enough to feel pained and confused and overwhelmed. We know that His ways are not our ways, yet that is more confusing than comforting at times.

    I agree…that damn snake. We would not be in this state if not for him.

    Thanks for writing…your heart for God shows through.

  7. A great description of the schizophrenic thoughts and feelings experienced when death happens to a young person ready to take the next steps of becoming. Only God knows where they would have led but while confused, as you said we still understand that he is better. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The Dobb’s family continues to be in our prays.
    By HIS Grace!

  8. Please leave it up man. I want to see what more comes as you process this further.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s