As a small community we have just been through a traumatic time. One of our local farming families lost a mother in tragic circumstances. She was driving her quad-bike on one of the narrow country roads and met head-on a land rover coming in the opposite direction on a blind summit. She was killed outright. She was only 43 years old. It is a real tragedy for her husband and three teenage children, and has sent shock-waves throughout the community.
Her husband is a strong believer, his brother is a pastor who was to take the service, and together they decided to make her funeral an opportunity to give a really powerful message of God’s love and protection, knowing that there would probably be many people there with little or no faith. The chapel, which seats around 650 people was filled to the brim, with people standing down both sides and in the porch, probably around 900 were there – an amazing turn-out for a community of approximately 3,000 – and what they heard was a wonderful message based on the 23rd Psalm, for Susan* was a farmer in her own right. We sang the song: “Blessed be the name of the Lord” which contains the words:
"You give and take away, You give and take away,
My heart will choose to say: Lord, blessed be Your name."
It is so easy in times of darkness to get angry with God: why didn’t He stop the accident; why did this thing happen to me? It is easy for our faith to waver at these times, and we need to be like the snowdrops which have planted themselves so deeply along the riverbank, that even when the river floods and they are covered by fast-flowing water, they stand firm. The message that came across loud and clear was the same as the one we get from David in his shepherd’s psalm: God is there in the darkness, sustaining and supporting, and ready to comfort the ones in distress. It is right to grieve, and we may go through days of pain and distress, but God truly is there and will never leave us nor forsake us.
Prayer for those in distress: Heavenly loving Father, I don’t understand what has happened nor why it had to happen, but I reach out to You today, trusting that You know what is best, and that You will sustain me through the dark days ahead. Please help me to be aware of Your loving presence in my loneliness and sadness. Thank You, Father. Amen.
*not her real name
As a postscript to this, today I met someone who was at the funeral who is now considering coming to church because she was so touched by the strong faith of the family!
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