by Rev. Tony Cooke
Dear Heavenly Father,
We have come here this day to commit to your loving care, the spirit of _________________________.
We have also come to show our love and support for these dear parents, ________________________ and ____________________________, and to surround them with our love, our prayers, and our faith.
We are not here today because we are wise enough to understand this situation, but we are here today because we are human enough to share in their sense of disappointment and hurt. The love of God that has been shed abroad in our heart compels us to reach out to them and touch them in some meaningful way.
We thank you this day for the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and for the promise, Lord Jesus, that you will never leave us or forsake us.
We thank you that beyond the sorrows and disappointments of life, we have hope and confidence because of your goodness and faithfulness.
We ask this day that you would help each of us look beyond the limitations and the heart-aches of this temporal life and see the glories and the wonders of your eternal promises and your everlasting kingdom.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Verse 16 goes on to say: “And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.”
As we stand here this day, I have every confidence that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The same Jesus who took little children in his arms and blessed them on this earth, has received _______________________ in his arms, and has blessed him, welcoming him personally into heaven.
There are many questions that come to peoples’ minds at a time like this, but we are not here today to speculate about uncertainties.
Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us:
The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever…
We are not here today to become philosophical about things we don’t understand, but to find comfort and strength in the eternal truth and certainty of your Word.
We are here today to focus on what we do know…
Jesus received, welcomed, embraced, and blessed little children when he was here on earth, and we are certain that he has done the same toward _____________________.
In the midst of natural disappointment and sorrow, we can take great comfort in knowing this.
(Address the parents) _____________________ and ________________________, I want you to know that Jesus understands the heartache that occurs with this kind of disappointment, and whenever you find yourself hurting, I want you to know that you can take shelter in Him.
The Bible says that Jesus is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and Jesus Himself said, “Blessed are they which mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
The Bible says that our God is “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.”
We are told that He is the one “who comforts us in all our tribulation.”
There is a story in the Old Testament where David, the man who wrote many of the Psalms, experienced the loss of his child.
Though the circumstances are very different, we see the beauty of David’s faith as he responded to this loss.
David had been praying and fasting for seven days, but when he learned of his child’s death, this is what happened:
2 Samuel 12:20-23
20 So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”
22 And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
There are several very powerful lessons here that can serve as a pattern for us in recovering from those experiences in life that trigger grief:
1) David arose.
Remember that God wants to lift you up!
2) David washed himself.
Remember “the washing of the water of the Word.” Let God’s promises refresh you!
3) David changed his clothes.
Allow God’s comforting presence to surround you like a garment!
4) David went to the house of God and worshipped.
We need to honor God for Who he is. We understand that God is not the author of bad things. But God is our “good thing” in the midst of bad things.
5) David ate.
Psalm 23 says “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” Remember that God has made provision for you!
6) David recognized that even though he could not change the circumstances, that God would still have the final word!
There are things that happen in life that we don’t like – things that we would change if we could.
When we encounter these types of situations, we recognize our humanity and our limitations.
When David said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me,” he was acknowledging that God would have the final word!
To the world, to the person who does not know Christ, death is the final word. But we have a Savior who conquered death, a Savior who provides eternal life and the hope of the resurrection to all who believe on him.
In speaking of the physical resurrection, Paul said:
1 Corinthians 15:51-57
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
These parents feel their loss today, but they know their God is bigger than their disappointment, and they know His comfort and strength will see them through.
For years, Christians have been comforted by the hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. Many, though, are unaware of the circumstances around this great song.
Horatio Spafford lived in Chicago and was a close friend of Dwight L. Moody in the last half of the 1800’s.
Mr. Spafford had invested heavily in real estate just months prior to the Chicago Fire of 1871. His holdings were wiped out by this disaster.
Just before this, he had experience the death of a son.
Some time after this, Spafford planned a trip to Europe for his family, and at the last minute, business developments required he stay in Chicago, but he sent his wife and four daughters ahead of him with intentions to join them shortly.
The ship carrying his wife and daughters sank at sea, and only his wife survived. Spafford left immediately for Wales, where his wife and the other survivors had been taken.
While crossing the ocean himself, Horatio Spafford penned this text with words so significantly describing his own personal grief: “When sorrow like sea billows roll…”
It is noteworthy, however, that Spafford does not dwell on the theme of life’s sorrows and trials, but focuses attention on the redemptive work of Christ and His glorious Second Coming.
Humanly speaking, it is amazing that one could experience such personal tragedies and sorrows as did Horatio Spafford and still be able to say with such convincing clarity, “It is well with my soul.”
In our human strength, that is impossible, but at times like these, God blesses us with grace…
Song: “Amazing Grace”
“Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
Because I live, you will live also.
________________________________ is not here. He stands in the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The body that lies before us is but the earthly tabernacle, the house in which his spirit dwelt. It is very tenderly and reverently that we commit this house to the grave.
The body returns to the earth, from which our bodies came. The spirit returns to God who gave it, waiting for the day when both spirit and body shall again be united at the coming of the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
We thank you this day for Jesus, for his precious gift of eternal life, and for the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
In the midst of our natural sorrow, we thank you for your supernatural grace.
In facing death, we thank you for the promise of life everlasting.
And in the face of separation, we thank you for the assurance of eternal reunion.
We acknowledge that _________________________ is with you now, rejoicing in your presence and enjoying the blessings of heaven.
So Father, we now committ the body of ______________________ to this earth, and we rejoice that his spirit is with you even now.
We look forward to that day, when we can all rejoice together, and we thank you that we are not without hope or comfort at this time.
We thank you for making your presence very real to (parents) ________________________ and ___________________________, and that you will especially strengthen and sustain them in the days, weeks, and months to come.
In Jesus Name, Amen.