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Everett Shayne and Aspen Bree

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Everett Shayne Kirkland and Aspen Bree Kirkland

I want us to honor those names. I want us to remember those names. These difficult moments leave us asking a lot of questions. It causes us to wrestle with the tragedy of the world and this life. Why do bad things happen? Where is God in the midst of all of this? There are a lot of words and scriptures that declare hope for the future and those will be important to lean on in the coming days, weeks, and years. but I want to start with this reminder:
The Lord Is My Shepherd
23 A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even 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.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 23:title–6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The Lord is my Shepherd! He restores my soul. I only need restoration if I’ve lost something. In this case we’ve lost Everett Shayne and Aspen Bree. The hurt is real. The pain is real. David’s words echo deep within our souls in these moments. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
God is with us. Qrista, Matt, and family, Jesus is called Emmanuel for a reason, He is God with us. He has given us Holy Spirit to comfort our hearts when we experience loss. We can lean into Him for comfort in this moment. Father God has given us a path forward, He has given us hope for the future. He prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies. In the middle of loss, when it seems like the enemy is pressing in around us, God prepares a table and invites us to sit down and enjoy His presence. God wants to remind us that in the midst of pain, tragedy, warfare, and fear that we have been adopted into His family. We have a seat at the table of the Lord. We have a place where we can ask questions and enjoy the fellowship that will give us both comfort and answers.
It may take a while, but He is patient with us in the process. Isa 55:8 reminds us that His ways are not our, His ways are higher and better, and when we press into His presence we can begin to learn His ways and understand His thoughts.
God has promised us that He won’t leave us as orphans, alone and hurting. He has gone ahead of us to prepared a place for us to enjoy Him forever. We can take comfort in knowing that Everett and Aspen are already there! They are enjoying love, delight, and beauty that we can barely dream of right now.
Today we have a somber moment, remembering Everett and Aspen, but also remembering Jesus. Last night was Passover, where we are called to remember when the Angel of Death passed over the Jews, and God delivered them from Egypt, but that same death didn’t pass over Jesus.Jesus took death on full force. Good Friday reminds us of the death of Jesus, His sacrifice, His temporary loss. We know the rest of the story though! Jesus didn’t stay in that grave! He was resurrected and restored to His rightful place in heaven. Everett and Aspen are enjoying that same delight right now. Jesus’s resurrection means that we will enjoy the same resurrection. His victory will become our victory. While we have seen this momentary struggle and loss we have hope for an eternal victory!
The Coming of the Lord
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Th 4:13–18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Qrista, Matt, Family we will see Everett and Aspen again. Our reunion will last for the rest of eternity. We will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
Holy Spirit, thank You for bringing comfort and peace in the midst of our storms and tragedies. You are our hope. You give life, and love, and Your goodness has never failed me. Thank you for the hope of resurrection, for the promise of eternal life through Jesus. Thank You for filling us with Your peace which surpasses all our understanding. Continue to draw us into You. Bring us to Your table and remind us of Your goodness. We love you, we trust You, and we rest knowing that You are holding Everett and Aspen, as well as, holding us. You’re a good Father and we love You! Amen.
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