Psalm 23 (NASB95)
1 A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We are here today to celebrate the life Bob Rodgers. Bob proudly served his country in the United States Navy. Bob was greatly loved and that is evidenced by you being here today. Bob was crazy about his grandkids, especially Grace. We want to use this time today celebrate his life. Two of Bob’s friends, Wayne Sanders and Lyndell Keen want to share a few memories with you.
Wayne “Pee Wee” Sanders
Lyndell (Lindle) Keen
When we are faced with tragedy we often don’t know which way to turn. We don’t know what to think. We don’t know what to feel. We don’t know what to say. In short, we simply don’t know how to respond. Fortunately in God’s word he has given us some direction for dealing with difficult situations and circumstances and that includes times when we are faced with a difficult death.
I want to share with you today from Proverbs 3:5-6, which says:
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (TNIV)
From those two verses we can find four things that will help us to hang on through times of tragedy and sorrow.
1. ACCEPT THAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT ALL.
5b lean not on your own understanding
When tragedy strikes some people begin to waver in their faith. They begin to doubt. It starts with questioning God. Why would God, if He really is a good God allow something like this to happen to my loved one? Why would God, if He really is an all powerful God, allow something like this to happen to me? If God is good and all powerful, then why do bad things happen to good people?
I have to tell you that there are no easy answers to these questions. I could tell you that part of the answer lies in the fact that not everything that happens is God’s will. You see he has given us something called a free will, which means that we get to make our own decisions and our own choices. The result is that sometimes we hurt people and sometimes they hurt us and sometimes we even hurt ourselves. Sometimes we simply make mistakes and sometimes accidents just happen.
Personally, I would not want to live in a world that was micromanaged by God. I wouldn’t want to live in a world in which I wasn’t really free. I am glad that we live in a world where God gives us a choice to follow him, or not, because He has given us our own free will.
In choosing to follow God I have accepted that there are things in life that I will never understand. In the book of Isaiah we read, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” In other words we will never understand many of the things that we experience in this life. And we need to begin by simply accepting that fact or else we will drive ourselves insane with all the why questions.
We are told to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Rather than wasting your time asking questions that have no answers you must…
2. HOLD ON TO YOUR FAITH.
5a Trust in the LORD with all your heart
When our world gets turned upside down. When tragedies occur. When loved ones die. When our hearts ache and feel as if they would break. When we are rocked by the storms of life we need an anchor to hold onto and that anchor is our faith. In Hebrews 11:1 the Bible says that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
You see we don’t have to understand it all, but we must have something to believe in – an anchor to hold us steady in the midst of the storms of life – a compass to guide us and direct us in dark and difficult days so we don’t lose our way – a cornerstone upon which to base and build the lives we lead. In Ephesians 2:20 the Bible says that “Jesus Christ himself [is] the chief cornerstone.”
Jesus illustrated this with a parable in Matthew 7:24-27:
24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
So I urge you: Hold on to your faith, faith in the Jesus Christ. You still may not be able understand, but you will be able to stand.
So you have to Accept that you don’t understand it all, hold on to your faith and:
3. NEVER GO YOUR OWN WAY.
By saying that I am certainly not saying that you can’t be unique or that you can’t be your own person. No, I believe that God created us all different because God loves variety. And, as they say, variety is the spice of life – it keeps things interesting and that is a good thing. But the Bible says:
6a in all your ways submit to him,
Why is this so important? Well, the Bible also says in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” You see our earthly fathers may not have been perfect,
Bob wasn’t perfect and he made mistakes. But you still know how much you loved him and how much he loved each one of you. While we may make mistakes we know that our Father in heaven really does know best. His way is the best way. His way is the right way.
How do we know the way? In John 14:1-6 Jesus said:
1Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2My Father’s house has plenty of room; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going. … 6I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you are looking for your way in life, let me just say that Jesus is the way. Follow him.
Accept that you don’t understand it all, hold on to your faith, don’t go your own way and know that:
4. GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH.
6b and he will make your paths straight.
Accept that you don’t understand it all, hold on to your faith, don’t go your own way and God will get you through it – he will make your paths straight. I’m not telling you it will be easy – it won’t. I’m not telling you there will be no pain – there will be. But God will get you through.
The Sequoia trees of California tower as much as 300 feet above the ground. These giants have unusually shallow root systems that reach out in all directions to capture the greatest amount of surface moisture. Seldom will you see a redwood standing alone, because high winds would quickly uproot it. That’s why they grow in clusters. Their intertwining roots provide support for one another against the storms.
One of the ways that God gets us through is by the intertwining support system of our family and friends. God comforts us and he uses us to comfort others. Paul wrote about this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Alice, you’ve been through a lot. This has been a great shock. You had a wonderful husband and I know that you all miss Bob very much. I want you to know God knows and God cares and He will help you in the days ahead. And if you will place your faith in him he will get you through this.
Let Us Pray.