Summary: When loss comes we do many things, some bad, some ok, but there is really only one 'best' thing for us to do... TURN TO JESUS!
Sermon Title: When Loss Comes To Our Lives
Sermon Text: John 11:17-44 [ESV]
Sermon Series: Recognizing and Responding to God’s Word
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. was dedicated in 1982. During the first 15 years, 54,000 items were left at the Wall.
Today it still takes almost an hour every night, [and much longer on Memorial Day,] to collect all the mementos -a teddy bear, a photo of a soldier's grandchild, a letter from a daughter who never knew her dad.
Every item is labeled and taken to a warehouse. No one knows quite how to deal with it all. "No one ever expected this to happen," a park ranger says. "It's so personal."
If you have lived life for any length of time, we all know that loss comes to us all! So often we carry our grief for many years. We struggle with emotions, we look for comfort, we seek for a place where we can leave our sorrows and find healing for the wounds of life…
Today I want to share with you that when loss comes our way we can do several things, some bad, some ok… but one is the best!
1. Turn to Fraudulent Facts v.21, 32
Criticize God v.21, 32
21 Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
Blame others Gen 3:12-13
Adam: 12 The man said, "THE WOMAN whom you gave to be with me, SHE GAVE me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Let me point out that the Implication here as well is that Adam is also blaming GOD for his failure, after all it was God who gave him the woman…right?
Eve: 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "THE SERPENT deceived me, and I ate."
Adam and Eve both knew immediately that they had lost something special because of their actions, but they were not willing to take responsibility for their choices, so they struck out at those around them.
Now when loss comes our way, it doesn’t have to be our fault for us to strike out…sometimes the hardest loss to deal with for us as humans is the loss where there is no explanation… but we still strike out because we are hurting inside and we think that this ‘hurt’ will be lessened if we can lay blame somewhere. How many times have you found yourself striking out at others…or even shaking your fist at God when you experienced loss?
What we have to realize, that as believers… striking out at those around us, trying to play the blame game… does not alleviate the pain of our loss… It does not lessen our grief or hurt… when we face lost we don’t need to turn to the Fraudulent Facts…
But this morning I want to tell you about another place we can turn when loss comes our way! This is a better place that the blame game and turning against everyone around us… it is actually just the opposite! This is turning to those friendly faces around us!
2. Turn to Friendly Faces v.19, 31
19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.
31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
Now this is something we see on a daily basis in our lives, and we have all experienced it. God has created us to be social and community beings, where we are there for one another!
In our passage this morning we can see where Mary and Martha were able to turn to several friendly faces as both v.19 and v.31 give an account of friends consoling and comforting them during this great time of loss for them!
Mary and Martha had a great human support system, and many of us here have a great support system in our times of loss and need as well… and that is a great ministry for us… a great benefit for those who experience that friendship love being poured out on them…
I know from experience that when dealing with the pain of a loss, regardless of what sort of loss it is… a friendly face is a wonderful thing to turn to.
For many of us, those friendly faces are there when we experience loss! When a loved one dies the friends and church family come to our aid and minister to our needs.