Reflections on life, death, the Great Controversy War And the disposition of our beloved friend Robert Coulier (1973 - 2012)
The cap comes off the camera. It is a bright green morning some six-thousand mornings ago—luxuriant rays shine down, penetrating brilliant canopy, dashing the forest floor, gentle breeze wafting, creation humming, a living painting filled with joyful promise, singing birds, even happy insect noises—all in testimony that something good was happening. God had made His world, Jesus wielded His paintbrush. It was home, it was beautiful. Adam and Eve enjoyed everything about it, their newness fit its newness. No rebellion here; only harmony.
Or so it seemed. For they were not alone. Deranged, selfish, alien eyes squinted under the sunshine. Halel perched in the tree, thinking, plotting, planning, crafting half-truths, machining ideas to destroy. He was perfecting something new in the universe: the concept of murder.
Halel, the adversary, Satan, looking on, hated them. He longed to crush. To maim. Framed in his vision he saw the man and the woman, together, God's image reproduced; he saw his enemy. He determined to reshape that clay, redraw the world, remake it in his own manic image. To destroy would not be enough. His goal was to replace. He marked his target. He hated the light. He committed himself to darkest darkness. He began with Eve, then Adam, and on to every human one by one. The deception has continued six millennia. Our world is not safe.
An enemy is running loose through the place God made for His children. Why does God allow this? Why doesn't He swoop down with His triple-strength teflon butterfly net and stop this darkling mind? Why must the aged forget who they are and die, babes expire in hospital rooms of antiseptic helplessness, and the heart of an age-38 father self-destruct leaving friends, widow and young children? There is an answer. It will not bring Robert back right now but there is an answer. More than a head-answer, there is hope.
Why need anyone die today? Why would God not intervene and save lives? First, whether one lives or dies today has no bearing on his eternal disposition. Life or death today is only what the Bible calls the first death; the inconsequential one. It is the death that everyone human dies in consequence of our first parent's disobedience.
This death has to do with the reality of rebellion in God's creation. The creation is not working right. And if God intervened neither humanity nor the realm of angels and other createds would be able to connect the first dot with the last one. The evil of sin would be masked.
But the whole purpose behind God's permitting sin to temporarily have its day is to let its evil reveal itself. It is to let the earth serve as laboratory, a test-tube, a wind tunnel for the demonstration of satanic theory. These are your claims, Halel? Really. So how does that work out empirically? To get the answer, take one good look at earth. All this pain and suffering and mayhem, all this is what you get when you choose to do your own thing, to be opposite to Jesus, to take rather than to give. And all of that revelation would be nullified if God made it His frequent practice to intervene, correct, cover-up, and, in effect, hide the outcome of our satanism.
Remember, we make ourselves adversaries, satans, when we choose rebellion. God is escorting earth to a time when no one will do that. There are casualties along the way. But think of it this way. God is at work to make all His universe secure. If we will trust Him, He will render eternity secure for you and I and all our loved ones who choose to embrace Jesus. That is, when God permits one I love to die today, He is demonstrating His desire to help them and secure them for eternity. That's big.
Rebellion is never decreed; it is always chosen. It is sin. It is choice exercised to reject the way that God made His world. To disagree with God is to dispute His Godness, to play at yourself being god. For a moment in time you are god, you rock your world, you get what you want; you repurpose it, bend it, turn it to your own ends. For that moment you are the adversary; you are a satan.
So here is the program. God gave free will. He allows you to be His adversary. He does not take away your free will. But the universe cannot be safe while there are adversaries. God is teaching us how to have free will without being satans.
God is developing a family of cooperators. He is showing a different outcome from Eden. He is in process of showing the universe what humanity looks like gathered round the tree of life, rather than pilfering from the tree of knowledge of good and evil like a band of young monkeys stealing bananas when they think no one is looking. Our father is gathering His family around the tree again. Beings made in His image, He is securing His universe so that we keep our free will but sin will not rise up again. Hear me. This is a hopeful word to a world needing hope.
A Word of Hope
The cases of all our deceased loved ones are entrusted into the nail-scarred hands of Jesus. He is the Maker. He is the Restorer. He has His eye on our trembling little earth.
God came down. Jesus came here. He offered Himself. In His Word God told us this: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8 NKJV).
God does not save us on the basis of our imagined goodness. Jesus came to save us when we were in a hopeless situation. He died for rebels, persons He knew would despise Him and treat Him inhumanly if given opportunity. Alas, we've all been given opportunity. We have all treated Him that way.
But God demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were engaged in enemy action. While we were little satans, running around, stealing bananas, Christ died for us.
Many will never choose Jesus. Some in hearing of my voice will choose small things, your own imagined worlds, your own way. Some will harden yourselves and turn away from hope and eternity. Jesus died for you. He paid a high price for you. He Just wants you to know you'd be welcome in His kingdom. Won't you turn here in this place? Change your future?
All who listen hear hope. Jesus lived and died to inculcate hope in you. He went down to death and robbed the grave. He stripped the grave of its power and ascended again. He neutralized the power of death in order to give us life.
We grieve this day. A brother, husband, father, preacher, writer, student of Scripture, has ended his course. . . for now. Our sorrow remains. It is legitimate. An enemy has struck down our friend. We cannot be his ally. We cannot side with the destroyer in sin. We must side with the Resurrector Jesus, the Giver of Life. He it is who, if Robert was as faithful as we are sure he was, will raise Him up.
The day is coming. The graves will open. Even so, Come Lord Jesus.
Countryside WA SDA
Mentone CA SDA 2012-07-08