Based in part on sermons by Rev. John Hamby and Rev. Robert Marsh
References: 2 Cor. 5:6-8
Psalm 23 (International Children’s Bible)
a. Today is a day of mixed emotions, a day when we ask difficult questions that Noe and Barbara have probably been asking themselves over and over again. “How could God let this happen?” “Why did it happen to us?” Sadly, those are questions for which there are few, if any answers.
b. It is a day of mixed emotion because we are here to grieve with Noe and Barbara in the loss of their child, Brittany Nicole.
c. But, we are also here to celebrate what we know to be a wonderful ending to an unhappy beginning—the knowledge that Brittany is safely tucked away in the loving arms of God.
2. Four Questions We Can Answer
Our greatest fear can usually be summed up as the fear of the unknown, but there are some things we do know.
a. One — Where is Brittany today?
(1) We know the moment little Brittany drew her last breath; she awakened in the presence of God.
(2) Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:6-8:
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (NIV)
b. Two — Will Brittany be a stranger where she has gone?
(1) We can be assured that Brittany is not a stranger or unknown where she is now.
(2) The scripture gives us proof positive of this. David tells us in Psalms 139:13-18
Or you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. (NIV)
(3) Verse 16 is especially important. It reads “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before I lived the first one.” We often see death as untimely, or early – but God is in control. We are surprised, He is not. We grieve the loss, but heaven welcomes Brittany home.
(4) Illustration: In the last movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King, there is a scene where a man is dying of his wounds, and his daughter runs to his side. As she places her face over his, he fixes his eyes on her, and in the midst of his shock and pain, his bearded face breaks into a smile, his eyes brighten, and he says, “I know that face!” He experiences great joy at the appearing of his child.
c. Three — Will we ever see Brittany again?
(1) The answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes!”
(2) It may be surprising to you to know that King David, who wrote the scripture we just read, also lost a baby.
(3) In the moments after that loss, David found comfort in knowing, “I can not bring him back to me, but I will one day go to him.
(4) ” David rested in the knowledge that his little boy was with God, and he would be with him one day.
d. Four — Is Brittany being taken care of, does she want for anything?
(1) Again, we can take comfort in the words of David, knowing that even in this life as we are being taken care of, Brittany is being taken care of in her new life.
(2) This Psalm, also written by David, is one of the most leaned upon scriptures found in the Bible. In Psalm 23 (ICB):
The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need. He gives me rest in green pastures. He leads me to calm water. He gives me new strength. For the good of his name, he leads me on paths that are right. Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid because you are with me. Your rod and your walking stick comfort me. You prepare a meal for me in front of my enemies. You pour oil on my head. You give me more than I can hold. Surely your goodness and love will be with me all my life. And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
a. Again I say, today is a day of mixed emotions. We grieve, not because of Brittany’s loss, but because of ours. And we celebrate, not because Brittany is gone from us, but because of what she has gone to.
b. Brittany was not able to open her eyes in this world and gaze on the face of the parents, grandparents, and family who eagerly awaited her arrival and loved her without reservations and without ever seeing her and without ever knowing what great things she would accomplish in this world. But, I want you leave you with this image in your minds. When that baby’s eyes opened for the first time, they saw the glory of God. When those ears heard for the first time, they heard angels rejoicing, praising God, and welcoming her home. When those lips opened for the first time, they too sang out in praise of God. And the first person to ever see that little face was Jesus, and seeing her, His face broke into a glorious smile; His eyes brightened; and He said as he stretched out His arms open wide, “I know that face! Brittany, come give your big brother a great big hug!”