Summary: Funeral Sermon
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” What a friend indeed. A friend that reached out to Rosa when she was just a little girl, and called her by name in her Baptism. A friend that got to know her as she got to know Him as she grew up physically and spiritually, to the time when she expressed her faith at her Confirmation. A friend that through the years continued to offer her His unconditional love, His presence and His power. A friend who made life interesting, and brought blessings to Rosa. Some of those blessings are times spent with loved ones – like those pictured in the displays on the easels.
“What a friend we have in Jesus.” Rosa's divine friend placed her into a Christian home with a two sisters and a brother. He blessed her with three children, and grandchildren and even one great-grandchild. He surrounded her with lots of Christian friends. He placed her into a Christian church family. He has kept her as His own all these years … and even now holds her close for all eternity.
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry ev'rything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere. We should never be discouraged – Take it to the Lord in prayer.”
What a privilege, indeed, to be able to converse with the One who is Maker and Owner and Sustainer of this whole universe – Who rules and governs all things for the sake of His church – His people. The Heavenly Father always receives the praises of His children. He knows us so well, says Jesus, every moment of every day, that He even knows the very number of hairs on our head. He also knows about the things we are anxious over, and upset by, and worried about. Because He has promised to care for us, and He is love, and all-wise, He has urged us not to be afraid, not to worry, but to know and depend on His loving care and His ability to provide for all our needs.
He watched over Rosa during her hard times, and never left her side when the going got really tough. There were some hard times, some really hard times … but Jesus never left her, never forsook her. He was faithful in His commitment to her. He promised: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” He kept that promise. He always keeps His promises.
When one lives 80 years you experience quite a bit. There are good times … times in which we thank God for the provisions He's given, and the relationships we have. Times in which we enjoy one another. Times in which we appreciate the uniqueness of each person. Perhaps times in which we wonder what makes our friend or loved one think the way they think, or do what they do. We recall the fact that God made each one special. And that He loves each one so very much.
And there are those times when we experience the fact that we live in a fallen world – a world that is broken, and unfair, and so full of trials and troubles. We all know what that is like – we all suffer from its effects. What a blessing, tho, to have a Friend, our Lord Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us to know the truth, to guide us in the way we should go, and to being comfort, peace and healing. Too often we are prone to look only at the problem, and our inability to make things right, or change our circumstance, or make it all go away. He encourages us to look to Him. To come to Him in prayer. To listen to Him in His Word. Again, what a Friend we have in Jesus.
“Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged – Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness – Take it to the Lord in prayer.” I know that Rosa and I prayed quite often about the troubles she experienced the last 20 years or so. And we saw God help her through. He was faithful to her. His grace was sufficient for her.
And He is faithful to us. The death of a friend or loved one brings grief. The grief we feel is real. There is a sense of loss – they are with us here no longer. And while we may have a sense of relief because they are suffering no longer, or they have been spared from whatever else the disease or condition might have produced, there is still a vacuum within, a void. They have been a part of our lives. Now a part of us is missing. And it hurts.