If God is good, why did my grandma have to die?

Bryan Chow // February 20, 2019, 6:13 pm

If God is good, why did my grandma have to die

When the life of someone close to you flickers away, all sorts of questions will course through your mind. God, if You are good – why didn’t you save her? Couldn’t you have let her live a little longer?

These were just some of the questions that kept haunting me throughout my grandmother’s wake. But in the midst of the emotional turmoil, I was confronted with the goodness of God – in a good way – especially as I considered how everything had played out.

My church friends and I had gone to Manila, Philippines, for a mission trip late November 2018. After the mission trip, I decided to drop by Singapore for a short layover before flying back to Australia, where I’ve been studying.

It was a good time of catching up with friends in Singapore and sharing about the mission trip – until I received a phone call from my dad.

He’d called to tell me that my grandma was in a critical condition and that she’d been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).  She only had 10% of her kidney function left, and dialysis was out of question as there was a risk of cardiac arrest. Her doctor could only prescribe medication for her condition.

Upon hearing this, I felt a gut-wrenching knot in my stomach. I had to catch a flight soon, so I did the next best thing I could think of. I rallied my church community to start praying for her health.

Don’t wait until the deathbed

When I was back in Australia, I found out that she was feeling much better, and thanked God for sustaining her. However, a few days later, things went south. This time, she had difficulty breathing, but refused to be sent to the hospital as she was still terrified from her last visit.

In a few days’ time, my dad updated the family chat that Grandma had been admitted to the Accident and Emergency ward.

Without delay, I booked the earliest possible flight home. All the way back, I kept praying and asking God to heal her. But in my heart, I knew that she was going to go home to be with Him, and somehow there was peace within to face this sad probability. I feel like God had been preparing me all this while.

What happens when the healing doesn’t come?

The moment I touched down, I made my way to the hospital. When I stepped into the room, there were so many feelings that flooded in. My grandma was lying in bed with tubes and needles all over her body, but when she saw me, she started tearing and tried to call out to me even though she was gasping for air.

Yet, I was so glad that I’d made it back in time to see her.

Mama,” I told her in Cantonese. “You don’t have to speak. It’s okay. Just rest and take it easy. I’m here, and I will come see you tomorrow also.”

Reunited with my relatives, I found out that prior to this meeting, she had mostly been in a coma-like state, and even if she was awake, she did not recognise people. But she had recognised me.

The next day around noon, we received a phone call from the hospital, with news that none of us wanted to hear. Grandma was now back home with the Lord.

Jesus wept – but He didn’t stop there

Had God given my grandma life to the full (John 10:10)? Yes. Was He still the Healer (1 Peter 2:24)? Yes!

Was He still good? Yes.

Where does that leave me? I was faced with the decision to continue trusting in God’s sovereignty, or to walk away in disappointment that my grandma did not receive the healing I desired. And it is here that I turn to Scripture and remember that Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) and to heal the sick (Luke 10:9). 

“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:1)

I still believe that God is the Healer, Jehovah Rapha. I will not stop praying for others even if I don’t always see signs of healing. I may not understand on this side of Heaven why my grandma was called to return home instead, but I trust the God whom she is with now.