Lament for a Father

Funeral  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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There’s something fitting about sadness when your husband, your dad, you grandfather dies. Death and separation are sad – no two ways about it. Being sick really stinks – especially when you’ve been sick for years. When I led Susan’s funeral, you were surprised that she died before Harold, because at one point he was more sick than she.
But now he has died. And here we are, wearing black and full of emotions.
There’s nothing wrong with emotions. Nothing wrong with sadness or tears. It’s what you do with your sadness that makes a difference. That’s why we’ve turned to Psalm 42. It’s a sad song; a song of lament.
Read Psalm 42
In their sadness, the composer cries out to God. Now God can handle your emotions. God created emotions, he understands them. If anyone can handle emotional honesty, it’s God.
The psalmist honestly tells God they feel forgotten, oppressed, and downcast: deeply disturbed. Death and loss will do that to a person. Sadness can make the sun appear dark in your eyes. It can make God feel far away.
Death is an enemy. Death might come as a relief after months and months of sickness and pain, but it still isn’t right. That’s because death and separation have gotten connected with sin and disobedience. The fear and unknown of death is that it cuts people off from family and friends. Unless you’ve got a connection with Jesus, death cuts you off from God.
Yet that’s the hope the Psalmist offers. “Put your hope in God.” Bring your sadness to God, but also look at what God offers: the hope. I mean, there’s a reason that peole praise God and call the LORD their Rock.
Alongside their grief, the psalmist remembers God’s love:
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life (v. 8).
There’s a reason the Psalmist calls God “my Saviour.”
Sin and death cut us off from God. We can’t rescue ourselves. We need help.
God came in the flesh to rescue his people, his world.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The Psalmist didn’t know the whole story of creation, but knew enough of God’s character and love to put their hope in God — even to praise him as their Saviour. That’s the story that the Bible tells on every page, the reason Harold read from his Bible every day. Do you believe that Jesus rescues us from sin and death?
Those who believe are given eternal life — life with God, life for God. It doesn’t take all the sadness away. It doesn’t take away all the hurt or feelings of being downcast or disturbed. But the assurance of God’s love and salvation gives hope. It gives confidence that God will let us come to him for comfort.
Your heavenly Father knows you feelings. He cares deeply about you. The day is coming when he will wipe every tear from your eye.
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