Good Friday comes before Easter Sunday


AS I SEE IT….                     

By Billy McCord

Are you ever tempted to question God? Most of us think we should never admit to doing so but at times I find myself asking God, why? Why, God, do terrible things happen to good people? After all there are people who live terrible, sinful lives and nothing bad seems to happen to them. God, just tell me, why?

I allowed myself to fall into this trap on March 5. I use the word trap because it must indeed be Satan doing the tempting. Nothing would please him more than for me to question the God I serve.

I received an e-mail on that Sunday morning informing me of the death of a young man, age 34, who had battled cancer for many years. I knew this man when he was in the fifth or sixth grade and his mother was teaching in the school system where I worked. His mother was a great person and a great teacher. She died at an early age of cancer. His father, grandfather and I are colleagues. They are both retired United Methodist ministers. 

Shan Whiteside, the son of Bob and Martha Whiteside, and grandson of Smith and Vivian Whiteside, was a wonderful young man, married to Gayle Betts Whiteside, with three young children. He was a graduate of Delta State University and spent his adult life coaching basketball in high schools. His latest coaching was at DeSoto Central in DeSoto County where he was simply referred to as “Coach.” I am sure nothing could have pleased Shan more. I do know that he was well liked and respected as a coach. I regret that I did not get to know Shan as an adult but I know of his reputation.

Maybe now you can understand why I asked, “Why God, why take Shan from his family and students at such an early age? There are plenty of people not doing anything worthwhile. Why not take them and spare Shan?”

As I reflected and prayed, I once again realize that God’s plans are not necessarily my plans. I also realized that I was once again in the judging business, and I fully realize as a Christian that I am not to judge. This business of judging is God’s and for sure not mine. I do know that Shan is with the Father who created him. I have absolutely no doubt that Shan is now reunited with his mother whom he loved very much. He no longer has to suffer the pain of disease and has been made whole again in the presence of God.

There is nothing wrong with asking questions, even when we question God. This is exactly what we should be doing during this season of Lent. We all look forward to Easter when we remember the resurrection of Christ. But sometimes we forget that Good Friday comes before Easter. Christ had to suffer and die on the cross before we could receive salvation. When we have questions we need to ask them and allow God to help us through the dark night to that glorious resurrection day.

I am reminded of the old song Farther Along, which helps me understand the mysteries of life.

“Tempted and tried we’re
“Oft made to wonder
“Why it should be thus all
“The day long,
“While there are others
“Living about us,
“Never molested tho’ in
The wrong.
“Father along we’ll
‘Know all about it,
“Farther along we’ll
“Understand why;
“Cheer up by brother,
“Live in the sunshine,
“We’ll understand it
“All by and by.”

McCord is pastor of the Pittsboro and Shady Grove UM churches in Calhoun County.