The Pastor’s Piece – May 8,2022
The Pastor’s Piece
May 8, 2022
Recently, I officiated at a funeral for a child who died suddenly. I’m sharing part of the message from that service in today’s column.
This is a difficult day. We all want to help, but none of us knows what to do. So we pray. But we don’t even know how to pray. But we still pray because the Bible says “when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings on our behalf that are too deep for words,” (Romans 8:26). Thank God for that verse, because that’s where we are right now.
Some will say, and many, if not all of us, have probably already said or thought: “God could have stopped this … so why didn’t He?” Many are blaming God and many will blame God.
But I’d like to say this: God is not the author of chaos, sorrow, tears, and death and pain and separation. No – It is just the opposite. God is the One who brings order out of chaos. He is the One who wipes away our tears and heals our sicknesses and does away with death and sorrow and crying and pain. He is the One who takes the wrongs we suffer from and makes them right, (Revelation 21:4).
He replaces all these tears and sorrow with hope and a supernatural peace. And in this moment – we need God’s supernatural presence. The Bible says to pray to God and “The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:7).
God is the giver of life. He gives us life and defeats that awful enemy of death. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die,” (John 11:25-26). That gives us the hope – the anticipation – that our loved one is alive today and we will see him again.
God does not hate us. The Bible says “God is love,” (1 John 4:8). He is not out to get revenge on us because we’re sinners. He knows we’re sinners and His purpose is to forgive us of those sins – not torture us in them. “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” (1 Timothy 1:15). It is the devil who wants you to suffer and grieve and die. Jesus said “(the devil) comes to steal and kill and destroy. But I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10).
Death is our enemy. It is “the last enemy that Jesus will abolish,” (1 Corinthians 15:26). In heaven there will be no accidents, no ambulances, no helicopters, no hospitals, and no organ donors. We will never have to say good-bye again – ever. “Sorrow lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning,” (Psalms 30:5).
All hope is not lost. As impossible as it seems now, there is hope in death. No one stays dead. “Death cannot hold its prey,” Peter said in Acts 2:24. Jesus said all those the Father has given Me, I will keep. No one can take them away from Me,” (John 10:28-29). This “life is but a vapor, here for a moment and then gone,” (James 4:14).
The story of humanity goes something like this… God created the world. It’s His world, but He decided to leave it to us. Starting with Adam and Eve, He trusted them with His world, but provided some rules: don’t sin. Love each other. And then … everything went wrong.
Satan came into the picture and deceived our first parents. Then that sin was passed down to all of us, (Romans 5:12), and now everyone sins, (Romans 3:23), and all of our sins have messed up what started out as God’s perfect world. The Bible says that God’s whole creation is being held in bondage by Satan – “It groans and suffers” waiting for Jesus to set it and us free, (Romans 8:20-23).
So what does God do? God comes to us. The “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” has come to us, (Isaiah 9:6). The Comforter has come, (John 16:7). The Bible says that Jesus will make every wrong right. There will be a day, an hour, a season, in which everything that is wrong will be made right.
We trust because the promise of God is that He will turn this tragedy into victory because Jesus has defeated death.
My message to you from the Lord today is this: You don’t have to carry this grief alone. It is too much to bear by yourself. Jesus said “Come to Me when you’re too weak to walk any longer by yourself. Come to Me when you’re too tired to pray. Come to Me when you can’t cry anymore because you have no more tears left. Come to Me for I am gentle and humble – and you will find rest for your soul,” (Matthew 11:28-30).
The gospel calls you to repent of your sins and place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior. If you have the anticipation of heaven in your heart, even at the height of your grief, you will have a peace about you, knowing that God is sovereign and even though you don’t understand why, you know that God is greater than this tragedy.
Psalms 10: Arise, O Lord!…Do not ignore the helpless!…You see their trouble and grief…You take note of it …The helpless put their trust in You…Lord, hear our cries and comfort us.
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
If you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ and you’ve never really given your heart to Him, this would be a great time to do that. You can commit your life to Jesus right now – in the quietness of your heart. You don’t have to do anything religious, you just have to open your heart and say, “Dear Lord Jesus, I need You. I put my trust in You and your promise to forgive me and save me from my sin and give me eternal life in your name. I proclaim You as Lord of my life. Come into my heart and make me complete. Amen”
You’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose.
(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin)