Summary: A brief message given at a nursing home memorial service.
Memorial Service for Aberdeen Living Center
March 10, 2004
It is my distinct pleasure to address you here today. And my hope and prayer is that you will leave here encouraged in the hope that we have in God, and through His Son, Jesus Christ.
When I was asked to do this, I was, quite frankly, at a loss as to what I should say. But upon prayer and reflection, I believe that what I will share with you will be helpful.
My desire is to give you three ideas that will help you in your remembrances of your loved ones, but more than that, I hope to point you to the comfort that God can give us as we remember those who have gone on before us.
1. Remember that God ordained our lives.
God is the one who has determined the length of our lives, and He knows how they are spent.
Listen to the words of King David in Psalm 139:
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
So often we think that our lives hinge on circumstance, fate, or whatever.
But the truth is that it is God Himself is the one who determines how long we live.
And I say that for one purpose: it’s to remind us that God is in control, and His purposes prevail, no matter how it looks to us.
The Bible says that God sees the whole picture. We, on the other hand, can only see what’s in front of us.
And so when God allows a loved one to pass, it is because He knows what is best for all involved, including those of us who have been left behind.
I know that’s not easy to understand, but it’s the truth.
The Bible says that the all-powerful God knows all. And He knows what He’s doing. Therefore, we can trust in God for what’s best.
My wife and I have lost 2 children to miscarriage. The second one was far enough along to know that he was a little boy.
We named him Enoch, because the Bible says that a man named Enoch walked with God, and then God took him.
And as I held him in the palm of my hand after he was delivered, my heart broke, and my wife and I cried and anguished.
And there have been numerous times when my wife and I have wondered why God did not allow our little boy to grow up to be a man.
I don’t have an answer for that, except to say that I have to trust God that He knows what’s best, and that my son’s days, even in the womb, were ordained and ordered by God.
And that has comforted me a number of times. So I encourage you to remember, first of all, that God is the one who ordains our days.
Here’s the point here I wish to bring about here: one of the best ways we can honor the memory of our loved ones is to honor the One who allowed them to be part of our lives in the first place.
So you know what I do? I have made it a point to thank God for my children who are with God, thanking Him for even the smallest opportunity to have been a part of their extremely short lives.
This is both honoring to God, and I believe, honoring to the memory of those who have gone before.
Second, I want to encourage you to…
2. Remember your loved ones in a practical manner.
Many of you are doing this already, I’m sure, because you want to keep the memory of your loved on alive, and I’m all in favor of that.
Placing flowers at the grave or at the site of their passing, looking at photo albums or videos, these are good things to do.
These not only help us maintain a tangible contact, if you will, but especially in the photos and videos, we tend to remember good times when we laughed and played together.
Another practical thing I would suggest is to maintain contact with friends and relatives of your loved one, to re-connect and reminisce with each other, giving each other comfort.
Tell each other stories of how that person impacted you and made you laugh. This will actually minister to the others, and we can all use some of that.
You might think of other practical ways to remember your loved one, but please, make the effort.
Please don’t try to deny your sorrow and grief. That’s a natural human emotion that God placed in you.
Let it out – there’s nothing wrong with that. Besides, God knows how you feel, which I’ll get to in just a minute.