This afternoon I sit at my desk with the cursor of my mouse blinking in front of a blank page of a funeral sermon. This is my third funeral in the last three weeks. All three funerals were difficult. This one especially.
As a pastor, funerals come with the job. Many times they are celebrations of long lives lived in faithfulness to Christ. Those are good funerals to do. They are days where I can gladly say rejoice for they have gained what they have longed for. Their faith has become sight.
The last three weeks have been different. The theme that rolls through my heart is: too soon, too soon, too soon. The sting of death is sharp when it claims a life prematurely.
I know that Job in the moment of utter loss says, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” But how? Where is hope in the midst of unimaginable sorrow?
I know my words seem bleak, but that is where many in our community are walking today. We all need the Word of God when it speaks from unimaginable sorrow.
As Christians today, we have embraced a faith that has little room for sorrow. Funerals seem like a misfit afterthought to the always happy always blessed life we pretend to have. Our theme seems more like the Lego Movie’s “Everything is Awesome” than, “Oh God our help in ages past, our help for years to come.”
Oddly enough, most of the Bible was written by sufferers. It was written by men whose hope in this world was not the upturn of circumstances but the grim hope that this world was not their home. Scripture speaks from men who longed for a day that they could escape this wretched world of death to be in a place where all things are made new.
Truthfully, this world may not get better. The wounds you may feel right now may not heal on this side of eternity.
May I leave you with the truth of what God says about this world and its hope:
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
We live in a world defined and ruled by death. As long as we are here, death reigns. It is sickening, repulsive, and vile. Yet, one day death will not reign any more. One day all the sadness, brokenness, and pain will be gone. But more than that, for those who know Jesus Christ, all the bleakness of life that we know today won’t even be a memory as God restores all things.
He will wipe every tear, heal every wound, and restore every believer. Today, find comfort in the hope that this world of death will be gone, and God will make all things right, new.