We are confronted with the brevity and fragility of life. It is all around us. Today, in this very building, a funeral for an 11 year old girl was conducted. From the sound room, I looked down upon a small body laying in a large casket. My first thought, what if that were my own daughter. My heart lurched and my eyes watered up. The pain and sorrow that this life brings is immense. There is great comfort in knowing that death is not the end for us; it is in fact only the beginning. But this does not help take the ache of loss, loneliness, and grief during those days while we remain here when our hearts ache for the ones we love who have gone on before us. For this, we cling to your present grace; your present comfort, those mercies which are new every morning. We cling to the refuge; the fortress, the rock that YOU are for us. We run to the arms of the body of Christ for support and strength when our flesh is done and when our spirit feels barren and dry. Abba, we long for the renewal of your creation! We long for your return, for you to set things right, to end suffering and pain and to usher us into an eternity with you full of joy and delight beyond our wildest imaginings.
In the here and now, while we face the pain, disappointment, and suffering of this life...sustain us by your grace. May we boldly and compassionately take the truth of your word to those who are hurting. I know nothing of the spiritual condition of the family and friends who visited today for this 11 year old girl. Without Christ, I can only imagine their depth of pain and grief. It is no wonder that deaths such as these destroy so many lives. Without the hope of the gospel, there is no hope. I pray that this family, these friends will hear the gospel, would run to you in repentance and faith, and find the daily sustaining grace they need to live with hope and faith.
I pray the same for each of us as your children who gather here at Hephzibah. This death may not have impacted us. It may not be our trial, but we each have our own and we need your grace to sustain us through the dark days that we face. Do not let our faith fail. Do not let your conviction waiver. Do not let our hope die. Keep us, sustain us with the mercies that are new at your throne everyday. May we run to you and hide in you. May you sustain us.
We love you, Amen!