First of all, the answer to your second question is that when a believer dies it is most definitely the Lord’s will, for death is defined in this way in Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.” In death, God is calling the spirit of the believer to Himself! It has been said that, “Death is God’s servant that ushers the believer into the presence of the Lord.” So, whether a believer dies a painful death or a peaceful death, the result is the same; they are, according to 2 Corinthians 5:8, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” From our vantage point we tend to look more on HOW a person dies, instead of on WHY a person dies. But God views death, be it painful or peaceful, as His means of promoting the believer to glory and thus we read, in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.”

I don’t believe that anyone can answer your first question, so we won’t attempt to do so. God alone knows why He allows some, like your Mother, to die a painful death, while others die a peaceful death. We must simply TRUST in God’s SOVEREIGNTY in these cases. He is in complete control and He acts according to His perfect wisdom and will. I often think of Genesis 18:25 when pondering questions such as yours. The end of that verse asks a most important rhetorical question, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” YES! The Lord will always do what is right! It will be right according to His goodness, His love, His perfect knowledge of all things, and His purpose! It’s not for us to UNDERSTAND all His ways; it’s for us to TRUST Him in all His ways! Job illustrates this trust, for after suffering untold losses which included being racked with pain, he could exclaim in Job 13:15, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” In other words, Job was willing to trust the Lord even if his diseased body would succumb to death.

In considering this subject, let’s remember that the Lord Jesus forewarned His apostles that many of them would suffer painful deaths. In John 16:2-3 He said, “Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me.” We know that most, if not all, did indeed suffer painful deaths. They joined the “heroes of the faith” in Hebrews 11:36-39 who were tortured and martyred for their faith. This doesn’t tell us why others die “peaceful deaths,” but there is some consolation in knowing that one shouldn’t be surprised if they are called upon to suffer a painful death.

You may be thinking, “But those just mentioned suffered painful deaths at the hands of wicked sinners, while I’m thinking of those who may suffer a painful death due to cancer or some other dreaded disease.” We had already referred to Job, who suffered a very painful affliction that “could” have ended in death. Why did God allow Job to suffer so? As intimated in the glorious declaration of faith that we quoted, Job’s trial of affliction PROVED HIS FAITH IN THE LORD! In 1 Peter 1:7 we read, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious that of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” It’s called “the trial of your faith” because it REVEALS OUR FAITH! Perhaps God reserves the greater trials for those with greater faith.

In closing, let’s look at 2 Corinthians 4:16-17, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Again, from our perspective the suffering of a loved one is a HEAVY burden that seems NEVER-ENDING. But God looks at it and says, “No, it’s actually LIGHT and for a MOMENT, compared to the ‘far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’ that awaits our loved one the moment their spirit is summoned to glory!” (164.8) (DO)