Summary: He is not gone, only gone out of our sight.
We have come to our final words for _____’s going home celebration. Let me share a poem that speaks comfort to our hearts.
Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God's free light:
Watered and fed by morning dew,
Shedding its sweetness day and night.
As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall,
Through which there shone a beam of light.
Onward it crept with added strength
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice length,
And unfolded itself on the other side.
The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before.
And it lost itself in beauties new.
Breathing its fragrance more and more.
Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
And make our courage faint or fall?
Nay, let us faith and hope receive,
The rose still grows beyond the wall.
Scattering fragrance far and wide,
Just as it did in days of yore.
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forevermore.
When I read that poem, I thought of _____. And this is where we are today. _____ is that rose that we knew. His character, his lifestyle, his faith, his example, grew and grew on this side for all of us to see.
But then, from God’s side, God knew the time was growing near for _____ to join his Heavenly Father on the other side of that wall.
So God’s light found a crevice in the wall to cast it’s light through to this side. _____ caught a glimpse of that beam of light and moved toward it.
He grew through that crevice in the wall until he reached God’s side. And once there, as the rose unfolded itself in all its splendor, _____ became a new person. He now has new health, new vitality that will never diminish.
The poem asks, should death cause us to grieve and our courage to grow faint and fall. No, let our faith grow even stronger as we realize that _____ still grows beyond that wall.
He is still the same person, only now he has a renewed body. And now he waits for us. And for those who know Christ, we are assured by God’s promises that we will see him again in that grand reunion that God has promised us all.
In the Bible, David wrote the 23rd Psalm and in that psalm, he spoke of the valley of the shadow of death. He said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
As you look at the valley of the shadow of death today, you can be sure that God will carry you through this valley.
You see, Jesus promised _____ that He has gone on before him in order to prepare a mansion for him. Jesus prepared a place for him because He knew that our physical bodies would wear out. Jesus knew our physical bodies are only temporary.
You see, that’s why Jesus said, “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Jesus knew that all this is temporary. None of it, none of us will last forever here on earth.
But our new home, the mansion that _____ is living in right now will never decay.
Paul said it and we can claim it.
“To be absent from this body is to be face to face with the Lord.” There is no in between. At the moment of death, the Christian moves into the presence of the Lord. That’s why Jesus said to the thief on the cross beside Him, “Today, thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” _____ knew that. He knew where he was headed.
Our Christian hope is not based on wishful thinking. It’s built on the dependability and the trustworthiness of God Himself. So we can face death today with confidence and assurance of who God is and what He has done.
We can’t know the future. All we can do is trust Christ.
Without life beyond the grave, life here and now makes no sense at all. And I know that the time will come when we, too, will cross over that divide, and we will see the white light, and hear the angels sing, and we will also join in that grand reunion with our loved ones and with God almighty.
God is the God of salvation. _____ accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He had nothing to fear. And we know, that because of God’s promises, he will be cared for so much better than we can even imagine.