This was originally written as a five minute sermon for a class I took a few weeks ago, but in light of what has happened in Moore, Oklahoma, Sandy Hook Elementary, Boston, Hurricane Sandy, and other tragic events I though I would share it with you. I've cried a thousand tears the past year or so. With the passing of loved ones, and tragedy around every corner it seems like. I'm not an emotional person, usually, maybe there's just too much death, both man made and natural, for me to deal with right now. I don't know. I do know that the death of this young man affected me in ways that I don't understand, and when we saw his mom and dad for the first time, all I could do was hold her and cry. No words passed between us for several minutes. Just tears and hugs, and that was all that was needed at the time.
It is my hope and prayer that you will find some sort of comfort in these words and passages from the bible. Even though I penned the letters, God put the words into my heart to be able to share them with you. When I gave this sermon, I cried most of the way through it, my class was in tears also. You may shed a tear or two as you read this, or maybe you won't. Regardless, I hope you find comfort just knowing God really does care about us and there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives, both good and bad.
THE HEALING HAND OF GOD
Prayer: 1 Thess. 5:23 And may the God of peace sanctify you wholly and I pray your spirit, mind and body be kept blameless until the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
This weekend Danny and I will be going to WV, but it really isn't a social visit, it's to . comfort a pastor and his wife. They are friends that we have known for about 7 years now. We watched their boys grow. We've celebrated the older one move out and getting married. We rejoiced at the first grandbaby. We watched the younger one, who was about 10 years old when we met, grow in ways and stature. He was a cub scout, who went on to be a boy scout, who went on to be a volunteer fire fighter, who went on to graduate, just a few weeks ago. A fine young man. A young man who was a friend God, loved his family, and cared for his community. A young man who was a fine leader and made friends easily. Quick with a smile, and eager to lend a hand if you needed help.
On Saturday, we will lay this young man to rest. He was barely 18 years old. You see, he was tragically taken in an automobile accident on Tuesday evening as he was driving home. It makes you wonder, where is God in all of this? Why did God allow this to happen? Why? Just why? So many questions and the bible, Gods word gives us the answers. It also gives us the tools we need to heal. Yes, it really does.
In Psalms 147:3 He say “He heals the broken hearted...”
Revelation 21:4 say, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes...”
Psalm 119:76 give us this simple prayer and promise, “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.”
I'm sure we have all felt the sting of the pain of death in our lives. The loss of friends and loved ones is a pain we all have to endure at one time or another. Sometimes it's a relieving pain, when we are relieved that the person we cared for is no longer suffering. Sometimes it's a surreal pain when a loved one is suddenly taken and we just reel from the pain and seem to float through the nightmare of it all. Either way, Gods hand is in it and we turn to Him for comfort and peace.
Gods word says in Psalms 23:4 “...your rod and your staff, they comfort me.....” What does a rod and a staff have to do with comfort? Well, when a shepherd want to gather a sheep that is hurt or sick or even in danger, he uses his staff or rod to pull it toward him. Have you ever seen a shepherds crook? It's shaped like a candy cane with a hook at one end. The shepherd gently hooks the sheep and draws them near so he can help them in their time of need. This is what God does for us when we need to be comforted. He draws us near, closer to him with gentle loving hands that embrace us and lovingly wipe the tears from our eyes.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us where our comfort comes from and most importantly, why, why must we feel so much pain. The pain of death, the pain of rejection, the pain of loss.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, WHO COMFORTS US IN ALL OUR TROUBLES, SO WE CAN COMFORT THOSE IN ANY TROUBLE WITH THE COMFORT WE OURSELVES HAVE RECEIVED FROM GOD! So we can COMFORT those who are in need of comforting. I don't know how to comfort a mother who has lost a child, but I know God knows and all I need to do is be there for my friend and God will do the rest. He told me so in his word and I believe his word is true, so I will just be there for her and allow God to comfort her as he has comforted me in the past. You see, it's not me, it's Gods spirit that comforts and gives healing, but me and others are the vessels that he uses, filled to overflowing with the outpouring of his love, compassion and comfort.
Remember as you travel along in this broken world to allow yourself to comfort those around you as God had comforted you in the past. It may be a simple as a hug, sometimes no words will be needed. Sometimes just a word of encouragement is all that it takes. And sometimes a prayer will lift a burden from someone's shoulder. Remember, God can do anything without us, but he chooses to use us to show his love to a hurting world. Go in peace my friends and may your light shine in the darkness.