Summary: This message was for the funeral of a 28-year-old woman who died of a drug overdose. I only met the family the night before the funeral. It should be easy to personalize and would work well with any difficult death such as suicide, ect.
DIRECTIONS FOR DEALING WITH A DIFFICULT DEATH
March 15, 2006
When we are faced with tragedy we often don’t know which way to turn. We don’t know what to think. We don’t know what to feel. We don’t know what to say. In short we simply don’t know how to respond. Fortunately in God’s word he has given us some direction for dealing with difficult situations and circumstances and that includes times when we are faced with a tragic or difficult death.
I want to read to you today from Proverbs 3:5-6, which says:
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (TNIV)
From those two verses we can find four things that will help us to hang on through times of tragedy and sorrow.
1. ACCEPT THAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT ALL.
5blean not on your own understanding
When tragedy strikes some people begin to waver in their faith. They begin to doubt. It starts with questioning God. Why would God, if He really is a good God allow something like this to happen to my loved one? Why would God, if He really is an all powerful God, allow something like this to happen to me? If God is good and all powerful, then why do bad things happen to good people?
I confess to you that there are no easy answers to these questions. I could tell you that part of the answer lies in the fact that not everything that happens is God’s will. You see he has given us something called a free will, which means that we get to make our own decisions and our own choices. The result is that sometimes we hurt people and sometimes they hurt us and sometimes we even hurt ourselves. Sometimes we simply make mistakes and sometimes accidents just happen.
Personally, although I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I would not want to live in a world that was micromanaged by God. I would not want to live in a world in which I wasn’t really free. I am glad that I live in a world in which I am a follower of God because, of my own free will, I chose to surrender my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
And in doing so I have accepted that there are things in life that I will never understand. In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” In other words we will never understand many of the things that we experience in this life. And we need to begin by simply accepting that fact or else we will drive ourselves insane with all the why questions.
Rather than wasting your time asking questions that have no answers you must…
2. HOLD ON TO YOUR FAITH.
5aTrust in the LORD with all your heart
When our world gets turned upside down. When senseless tragedies occur. When loved ones die. When our hearts ache and feel as if they would break. When we are rocked by the storms of life we need an anchor to hold onto and that anchor is our faith. In Hebrews 11:1 the Bible says that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
You see we don’t have to understand it all, but we must have something to believe in – an anchor to hold us steady in the midst of the storms of life – a compass to guide us and direct us in dark and difficult days so we don’t lose our way – a cornerstone upon which to base and build the lives we lead. In Ephesians 2:20 the Bibles says that “Jesus Christ himself [is] the chief cornerstone.”
Jesus illustrated this with a parable in Matthew 7:24-27:
24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
So I urge you: Hold on to your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You still may not be able understand, but you will be able to stand.