Summary: This is a graveside message for an elderly woman who knew the Lord.
Jesus never gave an explanation of why bad things happen to good people. Instead, Jesus gave us two promises. One was the He would be with us always, even to the end of the earth. The other promise Jesus made was this: (Comforting words for us today.)
“Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there you may be also…I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more; but you will see me; because I live you shall live also.. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
So in our closing words, I want to tell you that God will save you from any grief you might have. The reason I can say that is we need to think about how God saves us. He doesn’t save us from trouble. He saves us in trouble. God enters into our experiences with us and helps us through them.
In the 23rd Psalm, God didn’t route David on some outer loop around the valley of the shadow of death. He became David’s shepherd and walked with him through the dark gloom of suffering and sorrow.
You see, that’s the way God is with His children. He doesn’t isolate us from trouble, but He insulates us in it. He doesn’t get us out, but He does get us through.
You see, God knows how we feel. He never asks us to go through something that He has not gone through Himself. God lost a love one as well.
And you will not be alone in any of this. God will be there to help you day by day.
Just like when David felt so alone as he wrote the 23rd Psalm, he knew God was getting him through it when he wrote:
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth in the paths of righteousness for His names sake.
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.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
You see, just when David saw nothing but the shadow of death before him, he realized that God was carrying him through that valley. And you can be sure that God will carry you all through this valley that you are experiencing today. God doesn’t get us out, but He does get us through.
_____ is in God’s hands now. Really she has been for most all of her life. The only difference is that now she sees Jesus face to face.
And to you the family, I know how much you loved _____. And I know that you would have taken her place at any time during any of her illness. But you know that wasn’t in God’s plans for right now. So instead of allowing you to take her place, He offers you a total peace that surpasses all understanding.
So today we lean on Him. And He will comfort our hearts in knowing that this is not the last time we will see _____. Oh no. She waits now in heaven for us. We will join in a great reunion with her and many more loved ones who have gone on before.
I close with this:
When I stand at the graveside for an elderly person, I think about the life they have lived, that dash between the birth date and date of death. I think about all they have seen, all they have experienced. And I think about this story that is told:
Grandma, some 90+ years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn’t move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn’t acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.
Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. ‘Yes, I’m fine, thank you for asking,’ she said. ‘I didn’t mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were Ok.’