Over 20 years ago my father was murdered as he was working in his store. It wasn’t a robbery as there was no money or anything else taken from either the store or from my dad. The person who murdered my dad first shot him in the back. When my dad turned around and was crawling toward the phone, the person shot him again in his neck which turned out to be the fatal shot. The person then ran out of the store and got into a car with three others who left. My dad was determined to get to the phone. He was able to do so and he made two phone calls; one to the police the next to my mom. My dad was on his last breaths of life on this earth when he in a whisper to the police told them he was shot and who it was that shot him. My dad’s last breath taken was during his telling my mom that he loved her.
My dad was murdered three days after Christmas, two days after my parents’ 29th wedding anniversary, three days before my sister’s birthday and four days before New Year day. Dad was a very giving and caring person who would literally give the shirt off his back to someone in need of it. My dad was laid to rest the day before my sister’s birthday.
The last time that I was with my dad was on Christmas day. My dad and I got along very well. We had some shouts at times yet we would always come together and work it out. Talking with dad always helped me understand and gain wisdom. Note that sometimes it would take a while for me to understand and be wiser and I’m still learning from things he told me and from his actions. The last thing my dad and I did together was to hug each other. He told me he loved me and I told him that I loved him. That hug from my dad is a Christmas gift that I will not forget because it was the last one I received from him on this earth.
Off at work in another state early that December morning I get awakened by my phone ringing. Answering it I realize that it is my brother, Chris. He’s telling me that our dad was shot and that he is dead. I’m thinking that I’m in a really bad dream, a nightmare which feels way too real to accept. It was very real however and reality was hitting me hard.
I vaguely remember getting up and ready with only tiny bits of the drive in my memory. I do remember vividly sliding to a stop in front of dad’s store as the deputy sheriffs and state troopers looking at me as if I was insane and would end up crashing into the store.
A couple of the deputies knew me and one of the state troopers did too. They would not let me into the store. Dad’s body had already been moved but they felt it best that I not go in at that time as there was nothing I could do there.
Going the two miles from the store to my parents’ house, I realized that it’s now just my mom’s. Arriving, family and friends had gathered to support my mom, my brothers, sister and now that I’m there, me too.
What does one say to someone whose father was murdered? For that matter, what does one say to anyone who has had a family member murdered? I suggest that you not say that you “understand” unless you have actually had a family member murdered because unless you have had that family member murdered, it is very highly unlikely that you do not actually, “understand.” It is better to say that you feel for them or better yet, just be quite, listen and supportive to their needs.
Many people, Christians and otherwise, at this point who have had a family member murdered will ask, “Why did God allow my, _______ to be murdered?” where the “blank” is the family member or members who were murdered; or killed in an accident, or weather related incident, died from cancer, heart attack, stroke, or other horrible event. This is a question to which only God knows the complete answer. The person asking must understand that God may not give them a complete answer to their question of “Why” yet in His infinite wisdom and per His perfect plan, God has already given to us the main reason.
God answered the “Why” question in the Holy Bible. He told us that “sin” is the reason why horrible things like murder happen. Not just the specific sin of the murderer and his accomplices, but because sin’s entrance into the world opened up all of the horrible things we encounter. When Adam and Eve went against God’s request for them to not eat the fruit of that one tree, their sin brought death and suffering into the world (Genesis 3:6-19). The world God originally made was perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4) and very good (Genesis 1:31), and now is no longer the paradise it was at creation — we now live in this sin-cursed fallen world.
Me, I never asked God the “Why” question. Instead of asking God any question of why, I looked to what God has already told me about this world, His perfect plan and of His wonderful love for my dad and me. I then prayed a prayer like this:
“God I do not know exactly why you let my dad be murdered but here is what I do know:
God, I know that You have created me in my mother’s womb and know the number of hairs on my head, all the words I will ever say and the day I will bow down at Your throne. Psalms 139:1-6; Psalms 139:13-16; Job 10:11; Matthew 10:30
God, I know too that You will be my God throughout my lifetime and that You care for me and will carry me along and save me. Isaiah 46:4
I know too God that You cause all things to work together for good to those who love You, to those who are called according to Your purpose and God I love you with all of my heart and I am here for Your purpose. Romans 8:28
I know God that You know not only me in these ways, you know my dad in these ways too. God I also know You knew when my dad would be born and when he would die because my dad; as am I, are part of Your perfect plan.
God, I will rejoice and be glad in Your loving kindness, because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul and I know beyond doubt You love me. Psalms 31:7
In Christ Jesus name I pray. Amen.”
Yet God not only answered the “Why” question for us, He gave to us a savior we can accept Who will take our sin away so that we can choose to be with Him. Our sin is why Jesus came into the world as a flesh and blood man (Hebrews 2;14) and died the death that we sinners (you and me) deserved.
We all have sinned against an infinite God (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 3:23). “How?” you ask have we sinned against God? Just one little white lie is a sin to an infinite God. The punishment for sin is death and because you and I cannot always tell the truth without at times tainting it and among the many other sins against God we do is why Jesus had to die for us (Genesis 2:17, Romans 5:12). Take heart, Jesus did not remain in the grave, He had the power to overcome the grave and offers us a free gift of salvation so that we can choose to be with Him. Because Jesus covered the debt you and I owe in our sinning against God (Ephesians 2:8, 1 Peter 1:3-5), all you and I need to do is to honestly confess our sins and truly accept Jesus as our savior.
Many of the people who ask God the “Why” question, will turn away from God; not always because they don’t receive a complete answer to their question; but because they don’t understand and/or accept the answer of “Sin” that God has already given us in answer to the “Why” question. These people get caught up into the question “Why” and become lost seeking for more specifics.
Not knowing the specifics of why God let my dad be murdered has not bothered me in the least bit. In fact, if you sit down and think about it, “sin” is the only reason my dad was murdered. If it were not for sin, my dad would not have been murdered, right?
Have you lost a loved one? If so, I feel for you and pray that you find the solace you need to overcome the grief you experience. If you have not accepted God’s love for you, I suggest that you seriously consider doing so as His infinite wisdom and love is comforting and is always there for you. All you need to do is to honestly confess your sins and receive His Son Jesus into your life as your savior from your sins.
It is a choice that you and only you can make for yourself. Investigate the love of Jesus for yourself and discover that it is true. All you need to do is to open your heart and cry out to God and He will listen and give comfort.
In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.- Psalms 18:6
This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.- Psalms 119:50