God didn’t want an angel when He called my aunt home on Sunday.
Usually I write a eulogy but this time I feel compelled to write what Scripture says. Like me, my aunt was a Christian. We called her Tanty Sahodra.
It was in her home that I first heard The Church in the Wildwood song. I was spending a rare night out so that my cousin Sita could accompany me to write an exam in San Fernando. I was 16 years old and travelling from Siparia to San Fernando was quite the journey.
Greeting cards and social media platforms hail the phrase “God wanted an angel so He took (name), or “ _____ gained their wings.” This is usually done of out of good intentions to comfort the grieving person, but the truth is that no one becomes an angel when they die.
Simply put, it is false theology to equate a dead person to angel status.
The Bible is clear in the order of creation that God made angels to do His bidding. And He made human beings lower than angels.
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:4-5 (NKJV)
So Tanty is not an angel, and will never be one. She’s likely doing similar things as angels by worshipping at the Throne right now. Matthew 22:30 says, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” The simile “like angels of God” refer to their immortality whereby angels cannot die (John Gill Expository.)
A simile is a figure of speech and not a literal interpretation. (To further simplify – when one is said to be brave like a lion, one does not literally become a lion and suddenly grow a tail and transports to the Serengeti. But it would be really cool if that happened.)
So as Tanty has run her race and her body lies cold to be buried on Friday, she would be pleased to know that her passing into Glory found a purpose for denouncing the falsity that “people die because God needed an angel”.
The fact is that people die because their bodies have become too old or they been very sick and the medical treatments didn’t work. Or they may have had an accident, whether it’s their fault or another person’s error. They don’t die because God needs angels. God is well able to create angels if He wishes. And telling both adults and kids the truth should be done with carefully chosen words.
I ask my relatives and friends to explain to the little ones that Tanty Sahodra died (yes, use the correct word.) Tell the children that to die means that her body stopped working. Tell them that her heart and brain and organs wore out. Tell them of the glorious Heaven in which she waits, and hope to see them one day, and tenderize their hearts to Eternity.
My cousins know the Lord. Most of them live abroad. They cannot fly down due to the pandemic. I pray that their hearts will be filled with the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter. I pray for Sherry who carries the heavier part because she is there. I know the Lord has surrounded her with relatives and others to weep with her and uphold her this week and in the upcoming ones. Our Redeemer lives, and because of it Tanty does, and so does she.
I know what lies beyond the starry blue. I’ve been there and back, and each night I raise my gaze because I’ve peeked into what’s happening there. When I look up tonight it’ll be for more than the comet; I’ll remember my kind and gracious aunt who has been added to the multitude that worships around the throne. Deceased people, and the angels.
Sahodra Goocool went to be with her Maker on July 26, 2020 just short of her 86th birthday which would have been in August.