As a Pastor, one of the joys in serving the Lord and serving His people is to pray for people who I have come to love and care for. God gave me a wonderful church to pastor and even though facing death is a painful and difficult trial to endure what a blessing it is to know that our church family prays for us, and our Savior is near those who are grieving the death of a loved one.
Loneliness is often associated with mourning. We feel the pain of losing our loved one. We long for the day when we will see our loved ones again face to face. We grieve because we miss having them in our life. All of that is normal. I’m touched whenever someone shares the memories of their loved one. I’m blessed to hear about their life. And I am especially affected when someone knows God’s peace in the midst of their pain.
I’m thankful that God never leaves us nor forsakes us in our pain. We live in a sinful, fallen, broken world, so our heart yearns for the day when everything will be made right again. One day there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more despair, and no more death!
This Sunday is Easter. My sermon is about “Real Hope.” If it wasn’t for the resurrection of Christ then our faith is in vain, yet we serve a risen Savior. We may grieve, but we don’t grieve as those who have no hope, for we can find peace in the presence of God! He’s alive, therefore, we live! And one day we will see our Savior and loved ones face to face! Can you imagine what that will be like?
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. -John 11:25-26. Those are comforting words for those who mourn, but the shortest verse in the Bible is also comforting…. “Jesus wept.” -John 11:35.
Jesus’ tears were generated both by His love for Lazarus, and by His grief over the deadly effects of sin in a fallen world. He was truly “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” But while the Jews were correct in seeing Jesus’ sorrow as evidence that He loved Lazarus, they were wrong to think that His tears reflected the same hopeless despair that they felt.
The stage was now set for the compassionate Savior to visibly substantiate His claim to be the Resurrection and the Life. And as you know, Jesus would persuasively demonstrate His power over death by restoring Lazarus back to life.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” The Lord is not only near us as we mourn, but He also gives hope to those who remain. The Lord will give us grace and strength to persevere until the day we die and go be with the Lord.
I’m also thankful that life and death is all about the Lord. It’s the Lord’s presence and blessings that continue to meet our needs even when life is hard. It’s the Lord that walks with us. And it’s the Lord who always loves us; in fact, nothing can separate us from His love.
One of my favorite promises in the Bible is Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” What a blessing it is to know that we serve a God who is good and who is in control.
My mind can’t comprehend why certain things happen, and that’s ok. We can know that the Lord is working in our life. The Lord’s grace is sufficient. The Lord is enough. So we can trust in the Lord even when things don’t make sense.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
In our time of grief, we can trust in the Lord. This world is not our home. The Lord is preparing a place for us as He has done for our loved ones. Psalm 42:5 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
It may be true that we will greatly miss our loved ones, but this is also true, it’s a prayer Paul prayed, and it’s my prayer for you as your pastor, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13.
We don’t walk this life alone. God sent His Son to rescue us from sin and sorrow. God is a God of hope. He’s a God who cares. He’s a God who is worthy! Praise Him for His mercy and grace. Praise Him for His comfort and peace.
Love and prayers, Pastor Doug