Summary: Anything short of God’s allowance of time on this planet is not abundant living. She was only 32-years-old. How do we embrace losing her?
Rest in Peace
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to honor the memory and to pay our final respects to the passing of a darling daughter, a stunning sister, and faithful friend. It is again in this our own lives where we are again reminded of the reality of living. That reality always strikes close to home. In this case our Sister Stacy Rachelle Turner has passed the time of her sojourn here, and now she has taken her rest. These adjectives, darling, stunning, and faithful all characterized Stacy. I must admit that I did not have the pleasure of meeting her acquaintance, but after talking to her mother and sister, I sure regret missing the opportunity to have done so. Nonetheless reflection and reminiscing of the times you her relatives and associates have shared with her should be your source of comfort in this hour of mourning.
Allow me to vent as well. Death doesn’t make me sad it makes me mad. It reminds me that this isn’t God’s plan for us at all. Jesus told his disciples in John 10:10, “The thief (that’s the devil) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” If there is any blame to go around before we fix our lips to ask why God took her you may want to reconsider that Jesus said he has come to give life not take life. She was only 32. As you sit here today, thinking to yourselves that your life is invincible, and your plans for your life impenetrable let me again remind you that she was only 32-years-old. That’s not life more abundantly! How do we come to grips with the passing of Stacy?
This sister such a darling daughter had those child-like qualities that Christ said we needed to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. She found humor in sarcasm. Exaggeration was her personality and coupled with a naïve disposition made her approachable and allowed her to make you her friends. This stunning sister overcame adversity early in her life and endured the many challenges that she faced. She didn’t succumb to a victim’s demeanor but exhibited the fortitude of a survivor. Resilient, she was and determined. Making Christ her friend at the age of 9 lets me know that God had plans for her life. Generosity is a divine element and not easily acquired by us. But somehow when she encountered those in need she rose to the occasion, a very tenderhearted person to the point of gullibility. I dare not imply that my sister was gullible but she had a thirst of compassion meeting the needs of those who had needs. I’d like to think that each and every one of us bares a characteristic of our Heavenly Father. And her acts of kindness serves as a reminder that we serve a loving God. I ask with a person like that how do we embrace losing her?
Many of you found in Stacy a faithful friend. Some of us are not organized enough to assist anyone. In order to be faithful one has to be organized. If you were to get a call from a friend, and they needed to borrow something from you, you have to get back with them next week some time because you either misplaced it, let someone else borrow it and just have not taken the time to get it back. And God forbid that they should need money. For some of us our finances are not organized enough for us to help a friend out. Stacy anticipated the needs of her friends. She exercised her independence to better not only herself but others. And she was very particular. We could all learn lessons about her life, and yet if she was such an ideal woman, person, individual, if she was such the darling, stunning, faithful friend of Jesus and daughter of Burke and Deborah Turner, how then brother preacher do we come to terms with her death? How do we settle in our minds that this was the right thing for her at this time? What possible good thing could we glean from the passing of such an amicable person? I submit unto you brothers and sisters and it’s the same thing that God wanted me to tell your grieving hearts today rest in peace. I believe from what I have heard about Sis. Stacy, if she were able to tell you now in her own “high-siding” way, yall need to rest in peace. Or as the young people say it “Yall, need to chill! Because if you believe in God you know this is not the end.”
I offer the grieving family the legacy of our Savior Jesus Christ. In John 14, Jesus tries to prepare His disciples for his death and the hope of His resurrection. He promises to send them the Comforter. But as insulation against the torrents of our minds and the uproar and billowy trials that surround us. He promises to leave us peace. Settle your minds. In verse 27 Jesus says, Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. This peace is not the peace that comes through conformity with the world. It is an internal rather than an external peace. Without will be wars and fightings, through the opposition of avowed enemies, and the coldness and suspicion of those who claim to be friends. The peace of Christ is not to banish division, but it is to remain amid strife and division. In other words you are not going to become restless because problems arise. You are not going to become unstable when circumstances are overwhelming, but because you know Jesus you can remain calm in a heap of trouble and anchor yourself in the depths of His love and he will uphold you and bring you through it. Just ask the disciples what happened in the midst of the storm when it appeared that Jesus was sleeping on the job. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” And what did Jesus say, Peace be still. Rest! Peace be still is resting. The storms came to a screeching calm and the disciples became afraid and marveled at what manner of man Jesus is saying that even the winds and the sea obey his command. (Mark 4:35-41)