Why Did God Kill Rich Mullins?

Just a little bit more on good old Rich Mullins who would be my age now were he still alive.  

Some of this I wrote before.  I’ve added to my thoughts as I’ve continued with this discussion in my head.

I’d never listened to any of Mullins‘ music until after he was dead.  I’m happy for anyone who got to see Mullins in concert and experience his uniquely special music, poetry, and storytelling ministry. 

After some friends gave me the Rich Mullins’ compilations CDs “Songs” and “Songs 2,” I eventually bought every album Mullins ever released and read everything he ever wrote.  I became quite the Rich Mullins scholar.  One question nagged at my soul, “Why did God kill Rich Mullins?”  

Was it because of some secret sin that Mullins hadn’t confessed or repented that he died relatively young in the prime of his life, seemingly at the peak of his creative talents. 

First John in the New Testament does mention a sin that is mortal, and James writes of sin that leads to death, both of which I understand to mean that if a Christian goes on sinning and doesn’t use the Grace God has given him or her, then God as “Our Father” might call His wayward child Home.

Some Christians, and me too, as well unfortunately, tend to pair any apparent misfortune in another person’s life or in our own with God’s Judgment.  

“But WHY God?” I kept asking myself.  “How many gifted troubadours have You got who can and DID so beautifully sing Your praise that you could take one out like that?” I would ask God.  

“And JESUS, Lord . . . You let Rich roll his jeep and get hit by a semi and die like a dog on the highway!”

“What?  Was Rich gay or still viewing porn in his hotel rooms or maybe doing something even worse?”  

I was really curios about getting an answer to my personal question, “Why did God kill Rich Mullins?”  

Maybe I was so curious because a natural followup to my question might be, “Is God gonna kill me like that too?”

Karen and I never saw Rich Mullins in concert, but we did get to go hear his mentor, Brennan Manning, speak in San Diego near the end of Manning’s long, eventful life.  Manning was not only Mullins’ mentor, but a gifted theologian too.  If anyone could answer my question, “Why did God kill Rich Mullins?” Manning probably could.

So we went to San Diego, and we heard Manning speak at a cool contemporary Christian church there, and when time came for a Q&A, I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t ask Brennan Manning my question, “Why did God kill Rich Mullins?”  

The old priest looked so frail and he’d suffered so much sorrow in his life, including the sudden death of his spiritual son, Rich Mullins.  I was afraid if I asked my stark question, it would crush the old man.

So we returned home and I kept listening to Mullins’ songs.  And the more I listened, the more I heard this one consistent theme, “I want to be with You, Jesus!”  The poignancy and passion of Mullins’ yearning for home that I heard, especially on his posthumously-released “Jesus Record” finally answered my question.

At least for me it did.

God didn’t “kill” Rich Mullins . . . God gave him his heart’s desire.  

But the more I said it and the more people admired it, the more that line came to sound a bit too clever to me.  

The Truth is, the Ways of God . . . if there is a God . . . are inscrutable, and we may never get an answer to our many and incessant questions, not here or, maybe even, hereafter.

And that’s just tough shit . . . and I guess that we’ll just have to deal with it!

Maybe my “heart’s desire” line is true.  Maybe the “tough shit” line is true.  Maybe both lines are “True,” which sounds more like the Bible, huh?

But IF there is a God who loves us like a perfect Mother/Father (which is how the Bible reveals “God” in the best parts) and if we get to BE with God forever . . . who cares about all our dumb questions!

Rich Mullins once wrote a song about THAT too.

“. . . the reckless, raging fury that they call the Love of God . . . “

When I texted these thoughts around this time last year to a good friend who is an artist and who has painted portraits of Karen and me like the two below . . .

. . . this is what our friend who doesn’t text very often wrote back to me:

To say that God killed Rich Mullins is simply bad Theology my friend. We are under a New Covenant and not the Law of sin and death. If you say that about Rich then what of Keith Green who served the Lord with all his heart mind soul and died in a plane crash with one of his daughters?

Satan is out to kill steal and destroy not God. And as far as Rich’s perceived hidden sin – are you God that you know a mans heart and what’s in it? We ALL fall short of His glory. We all harbor sin in our hearts. That’s why we need a Savior. And His mercies are NEW EVERY DAY – not just on Sunday. 

Time would be better spent plumbing the depths of your own heart and laying it before the Lord – for He’s waiting for you to come to Him and meet with Him. Not for judgement but for relationship! Spend time in His Word and get to know God rather than judging Him and the hearts of others. 

IF? God exists?! Perhaps start there. 😉 

Said in love my friend. ❤️

Pretty GOOD advice, huh?

Karen tells me the same thing.

I’m still trying . . .

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