This article is about comfort in sudden death, and the purpose of God in a death by accident.

Source: Clarion, 1997. 3 pages.

Accidental Death: Does it Make Sense?

This article deals with death as a hurting enemy. Families in the midst of the churches have been hurt by the sudden death of loved ones. It also deals with serious accidents as the cause of death and of painful handicaps. Both cause intense suffering and bring great turmoil. But there is the comfort of God’s Word too. We may place our broken life and this life-shattering death in the frame of God’s Name and Kingdom.

Death is Our Enemy🔗

Death strikes every day. Sometimes death comes after a long illness with much pain or at an old age that became difficult through physical and/or mental problems. In such cases death can be experienced as a deliverance from suffering, even though the beloved one is still missed. Since Christ obtained life for those who belong to Him, for Christian believers such a death is accompanied by the comfort of God’s promises. Those who lived and died “in the Lord” have been taken home. They are with their Lord. When He returns, they will come back with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). It is as Paul writes in Philippians 1:21-23: To die is gain for it means to depart from this life and be with Christ.

However, death can also hit unexpectedly, sometimes through a sudden, brief but fatal illness or a heart failure. More often a sudden death occurs through accidents. Here death takes away people in the strength of their life or in their youth. Fathers and mothers, needed so much in their family, leave an empty place. Young people, full of plans and ideals for building up their life, or little children, just beginning their life, are no longer there. Vibrant lives suddenly are broken off. A life full of plans and actions is shattered. Deep is the grief and profound the pain of those who remain. Their life is in turmoil.

Questions come up. Why? What is the sense of it? What is the sense of going on with living? A spouse, a parent, a child is not just another person. He or she is part of one’s life, of a family. And this part is suddenly broken away. Indeed, life is broken, shattered into pieces. The mind constantly focuses on those empty places. Death sure is a terrible enemy.

Comfort in a God’s Perspective🔗

Those who believe in Christ Jesus as their Lord place themselves in the light of God’s goal for the history of heaven and earth. It is His goal with their lives too. This goal is expressed by Christ in the first three petitions of the prayer He taught us:

Our Father Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
on earth, as in heaven.

In the obedience of faith to Christ’s will, which is the Father’s will, we address the LORD God as our Father in heaven. Doing so, we express our trust in Him, the sovereign heavenly Majesty, governing all things in such a way that His goal is reached, as our almighty and faithful, caring Father. And when, in the same obedience of faith, we pray these first three petitions, we make the goal of our heavenly Father for our life our own goal. We pray that God will grant us that, under all circumstances and in every situation of life, we do His will by acting and speaking in such a way that we serve the realization of His purpose. Our Father, we pray, grant that through us, Thy children and servants, Thy Name be glorified and Thy Kingdom come, not only in prosperity when we receive so many good things, but also in our adversities, when we are confronted with difficult and hard situations.

Such situations can be, for instance, the things we are dealing with, accidents or illnesses that cause a sudden death or a becoming handicapped for a long time.

Praying this prayer when you are faced with the breakdown of your life on earth is not easy. It requires total surrender into the hands of the Lord in faith and trust. This is only possible through God’s Holy Spirit working in us. And we see this work of the Spirit time and again. When the need is great, God’s supporting grace and upholding strength is there in the heart and life of His children.

It is especially through such surrender in faith that His Name is glorified and His work of grace becomes known so that His kingdom is advanced. I point to two of the fatal accidents which happened earlier this summer.

In Ontario, a young boy was hit by a car and rushed to the hospital where he died. The funeral was attended not only by the school community and the church family but also by many neighbours and others. The message at the funeral was Biblical, comforting and strengthening. There was deep grief. There was also surrender into the hands of the heavenly Father. Through the grace of God, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, dealt with their grief in faith, as Paul speaks about it in 1 Thessalonians 4:13: grieving but not without hope. While there were tears in the eye, there was the experience of deep joy in the heart. It was joy in the LORD and His promises. In this way the gospel of salvation through Christ was heard and seen. For the gospel was “lived.” God’s Name was glorified and His kingdom advanced.

We were again shocked when we heard of the accident in Alberta. There, too, the LORD gave His power to bear up in trusting surrender to Him. His strength was received and was shown and impressed also here not only the church community but also the people around. The result of God’s power as this was manifest in the trusting surrender to Him was written about in the newspapers. With amazement, we see how God glorified His great Name and proclaimed His kingdom with its grace. Accidents happened to the glory of God through the faith of His children. What happened here can be linked to what we read in John 9 about Christ and the man who was born blind. This man had to suffer for many long years, he and his parents. The suffering through his lifelong handicap was not only physical and mental; it was also spiritual since being born blind was, by the Israel of that time, considered a punishment from God for sins. Christ, however, explained that this handicap of many years had been there in order that the saving work of God in and through Him, God’s Son, might become manifest.

This saving work became manifest in the healing of the blind man. This same saving work becomes manifest today in the enduring faith of God’s children under hard circumstances. And we are richer than this man. He suffered for the coming of God’s Kingdom without knowing it. When God leads our way through sufferings, we may know what God’s purpose is, and that we suffer for Him and His Name and Kingdom through our trust and surrender, in obedience of faith.

Principally, it is here the same as with the death of the Christian martyrs. They were and are imprisoned, tortured, and killed. And their enduring and persevering faith was and is to God’s glory, serving the coming of His Kingdom and the gathering of His church.


Do illnesses and accidents that cause death or a handicapped life make sense? Yes, they do when we look at them in the light of God’s Word! It makes sense for God, for the coming of His Kingdom and the glorification of His Name. Therefore, they are not senseless for us either. God will reach His goal with them. That goal we may serve with our faith and trust. This gives direction to our life in the midst of grief and suffering. It provides purpose. It helps us to bear up and strengthens us to go on.

God promised that He will not fail nor forsake us. Christ Jesus is the same Helper, yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:5, 8), Who did not and does not fail. May this God continue to provide His help and strength, His comfort and power to those who have to go difficult ways for the sake of His Name and the coming of His Kingdom.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.