How a local funeral became a place of blessing after a tragic plane crash.
Psalm 145: 14 The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
I was at a funeral last night. The deceased had been tragically killed in a plane crash last weekend, on the very same day that his son was getting engaged to be married. I went to the funeral because the mother of the dead man is a member of our congregation. It was a very sad event for her because she also lost her daughter to breast cancer last year. She has now survived both her children.
I wondered how the pastor would conduct such a sad service to the devastated family. I prayed for him constantly throughout the service. He was an old minister, who was also a dear friend to the family. I could see that he was deeply affected by this tragedy, but his years of pastoral experience enabled him to gently lead the whole gathered community to celebrate the life of the deceased and, at the same time, still retain faith, hope, and love for God.
Towards the end of the service, the elderly pastor asked the congregation to share some thoughts and memories. A beautiful letter, written by the deceased’s wife, was read and some other people shared their personal stories. The last speaker was the son of the man who died. He very courageously thanked everyone for being at the funeral and added these words: “You have all confirmed for me that my father was the person I always knew him to be.” I have never heard of a higher compliment being given to a father by a son.
In the midst of this tragedy, we all wondered how we could celebrate and endure such a loss. And yet God, in one of His mysterious ways, provided all of the ingredients, people, and thoughts necessary to enable the family and friends to be lifted up. It was a remarkable experience and for me it proved the promise encapsulated in this verse: ‘The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.’
Perhaps you feel downhearted or disappointed today. Maybe you’re a bit depressed and feeling low. My prayer for you this day is that God will come to wherever you are, and gently lift you up in body, mind, heart, and soul.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in the midst of our sorrows, be our Comforter. During times of trouble and tragedy, be our Strength. And in those dark moments when we feel down or depressed, isolated or alone, be our Friend. Both now and always. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.