Faith: Finding comfort in God’s Word
Have you ever noticed that at times a Bible passage says more to you than it did the last time you read it?
The writer in Hebrews 4.12 says … ”the word of God is living and active.” The idea is not that God’s Word changes it, but that we are changed by the application of the Word to our own setting.
I am pondering this phenomenon as I attempt to write a funeral service. Having been a minister of the Gospel for the past 40-plus years, I suspect that I have written about 400 to 500 funeral sermons; the one I am writing today is different.
The difference I realize lies within my association with the deceased. I attended both of my parents’ funerals and even said a few words, but it was not my duty to carry the words of comfort to the assembled congregation. I have even been privileged to officiate the burial services for dear friends. However, it is again not the same.
The deceased’s name is George, and he very wisely and, might I add, graciously wrote down what he wanted to happen and even included the songs he wanted played at his funeral. Anticipating one of my questions, he left a note about his favorite passage and ones he wanted to have read. His desire was that I include the Gospel, you know the very essence of the Bible, where God sends His son to save the world.
George was emphatic that I include that in the eulogy. It was what he lived by and had his hope in. I have known George all my life, at least as far back as I can remember. When I was young, he could tease me to the point of annoyance. But in the last couple of days, I thought in all those years he never hurt me, with words or actions. He was gracious and kind but in a gruff way, wanting no one to know that he was the impetus behind the action to help.
What makes it different this time is the words that I speak and the Scriptures that I read have to speak above all to my own heart. George was my older brother, and as he said a couple of weeks ago, he was going to the hospital, then he would be going home one way or another.
George went home to Jesus Saturday night. And the words of Paul to the Corinthians in the 15th chapter tug at my heart like never before: ”But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I cannot stop with those words I have to remember. Thessalonians 4 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
So I really feel the comfort knowing that these verses apply to me in a very real way, but then I am fortunate that I had a brother that knew Jesus and he made sure he helped me to know Him too. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, then He invites you to start one.
Dr. L.S. Middleton is the senior minister at Craig Christian Church.
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