Words Of Comfort

Death is one common denominator for us all: rich or poor, black or white, old or young, Protestant or Catholic, American or any other nationality. It is one thing that affects us all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, or personal or financial status. The death of a loved one leaves us feeling sad, alone, and depressed, maybe even blaming God and feeling like He has deserted us. If we had been praying for healing, we may feel like God let us down or ignored our prayers. It is our human nature want to know the reasons, and we naturally want someone to blame; thus, it is a difficult and confusing time for all of us.

Our God created us, and He knows all our emotions, since He gave them to us. He knew, when death came into our existance because of sin, that loss of a loved one would be one of the most painful and difficult times of our lives, causing us to question Him. And He did not leave us to face death on our own. One of the most powerful Scripture passages often used for funeral or memorial services contains this verse:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

There are several things I want you to be sure and notice when you read or hear this verse. First, the words "walk through". We musn't stop and set up camp in this valley- we have to walk through it! God never meant for us to stay wallowed in our grief and loss; it's something we must get through - we have to go on. Thanks to the presence of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Helper, we can do that. We can have God's peace even as we go through such great loss as death brings.

Second, this is a valley. We all know it's easy to get down into a valley, but it's a lot harder to get out! It takes some effort! We can't just sit around and expect to get out of the valley. We have to make the effort to GET: get up and get dressed, get out of the house, get together with friends, get to church and other events. When we make the effort to get going, it becomes easier over time to get out of the valley. If we don't make the effort, we remain in that valley longer than we need to be.

Third, this physical death is not the end; it is only a shadow of death. The real death, the second death, comes at the judgment. The book of Revelations tells us about the second death, which Christians will never suffer. Instead, as Rev.20:6 assures us:

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

This should also give us more incentive to share the gospel with everyone, most especially our loved ones. How much easier it is to face death, knowing it is not the final parting. We want to make sure our loved ones have every possible opportunity to come to know Jesus as their Savior, so that we can rest assured, knowing we will see them again in heaven one sweet day!

Last, we must notice that even though we may feel lost and alone, God is still with us in our time of grief and mourning. The rod and staff are tools of the shepherd to lead and protect his sheep, and our Shepherd uses them to guide and protect us at these times of sorrow. Sometimes if a sheep is too weak to stand on it's own, the shepherd will pick it up and carry it either in his arms or wrapped around his neck. Lean on Him! We can depend on His ability to get us through these times; even though we may feel like we are alone in our grief, we are not.

It is only by placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ that we have claim to the promises of God. How wonderful to know that He didn't leave us to face any of life's greatest challenges alone, especially the sorrow death brings to us all, but promised to be with us through whatever comes our way! In His holy Word, there are many. promises we can cling to. The list below contains some of the most comforting words in the Bible. It is by no means a complete list, but it's a start. You can add your own favorites to the list as you read and meditate on Scriptures. Memorize them, and they will always be in your heart and mind when you need them most.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

The LORD is near to thebrokenhearted; and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalms 34:18)

I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from which comes my help. My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Psalms 121:1-2)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. (John 11:25)

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

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