Saturday, April 11, 2009

Funeral for an Infant Today

Please pray for much grace to be poured down on the family, friends and pastors during the funeral of Sophia (7 weeks). Sophia died in her home unexpectedly last Saturday night (see here).

The funeral will be held at the funeral home at 1 PM and the meal will be at the church at 3 PM.

Pastor Dave, who with his wife, has amazingly and graciously ministered to the parents of Sophia and extended family. Dave and Gerri are their neighbors.

Needless to say, the family is hurting very badly. Dave asked me to give a funeral sermon. Please pray for me and for the family as they listen. I pray that God would use it to point them to the sympathetic, compassionate and effective Counselor of the Crushed Soul.

Here is my sermon:


Psalms 27:13-14 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (14) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (KJV)

I realize that no one wants to be here this afternoon. The past seven days has been filled with unthinkable anguish of soul. It has been a week of horror and hurt, sadness and emotional sickness.

Maybe you feel somewhat akin to what the Psalmist wrote:

Psalms 69:1-3 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. (2) I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. (3) I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. (KJV)

I am not naïve enough to think that I can get up and share a few words and expect the pain and sorrow to go away. But I want to share words of hope to you that will earnestly point you to the One who can heal. I want to share words with you that will honor the death of dear Sophia and help you truly live and grow in a way that will make her death not in vain.

David wrote in desperation in Psalm 27:

Psalms 27:13-14 I had fainted [or – I would have despaired], unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (14) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (KJV)

I want to share with you 3 words of comfort concerning the goodness of the LORD.

1. Sophia is in the hands of her loving Maker and Merciful God.

I bring to you much hope this morning when I ponder the location of Sophia’s soul. Not because I sentimentally believe babies are without sin. We are born in our sins and even babies need a great Savior. But given the fact that she did not have what we would think of as the mental capacity to repent of her sins and sincerely believe in Jesus – I have much hope that she is with Jesus (Rom 1:19-20 says that those who see creation are without excuse – I don’t think babies can “process nature” yet see John Piper). I believe that some day in the final Judgment she will in great mercy be found covered by the blood of Jesus, forgiven and righteous in Christ because God has given her faith in His Son, Jesus. I don’t understand fully – but I think it most likely that she has been given mature capacities right now to enjoy Jesus Christ and implications of this is great for Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures evermore.

She is in the hands of the Father who forsaketh not His little ones. Be comforted by the goodness of the Lord that is surrounding your little girl. His hands are mighty and tender. In 2 Sam. 12:23, David who had just lost his infant son cried out to God – “He is dead…I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

2. Jesus is a sympathetic, compassionate and effective Counselor of the Crushed Spirit.

Behold the goodness of the Lord in the man of sorrows. We just marked the night in which he cried out to God for help as he sweat great drops of blood in the garden. He bore the cup of anguish and horror as he drank the full wrath of God. No man has suffered more emotional anguish and pain that Jesus Christ. I present Him to you as a sympathetic, compassionate and effective Counselor for your souls.

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Come to him and give him your life. Look fully to the One who suffered and understands all pain. He says come to me and I will give you life. He is the only way to rest, comfort and the fulfillment of hope. But He is not only the way to comfort and hope – He is the Great Comfort and Hope. When we have Him we have everything.

Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

In John 11 we read that Jesus wept.

Jesus is not unaffected by our suffering and pain. He knows and He cares. Look to Him.

Luke 4:18-21 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (20) And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. (21) And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (from Isaiah 61)

He is not only a good sympathizer who is compassionate – He gives results: “to heal the brokenhearted.” Which really leads to my last word of comfort on the goodness of the Lord:

3. God promises to do many miracles now and in the future to those who look to the Son (with sincere repentance and belief).

One of the biggest miracles that you could possibly imagine (or not imagine) is the removal or healing of your inner soul pain or the wiping away of tears. It does take a miracle. Here is the application of the fact that Jesus is an Effective Counselor of our souls if we give ourselves to Him without restraint and trust fully in Him with all our lives.

This is not an overnight thing but here is the future promise that I want to offer to you:

Revelation 21:3-5 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (4) 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. (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Psalms 27:13-14 I had fainted [or – I would have despaired], unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (14) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (KJV)

I don't expect you to fully see right now, but look to the goodness of the Lord and do not despair but turn and believe wholehearted on Jesus.
Do it now and for the rest of your life! He will not fail you!

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