So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17, NASB1995).
I have an observation about funerals.
All of us have been to a memorial service but let me make a prediction of prophecy that is 100 percent true – all of us will be the reason for a memorial service.
Having officiated hundreds of funerals, I share this observation: at their memorial service, those who had active faith and were surrounded by other believers while living, had joy at their funeral.
Deep faith survives grief!
Paul writes about this strong faith…
So that you will not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Faith believed and lived in Jesus produces joy even in extreme grief.
Let me categorize three memorial services in which I’ve participated – observing parents who had daughters who passed prematurely.
- Parents, and most of the friends, were atheists.
The parents were cursing God before the service.
I wondered why they cursed God, finding frustration in the inequity of life, when their beliefs taught there was no God or equity in life?
At this memorial service, there was no hope or joy – just an oppressive realization that they would never see their daughter or friend again.
Inconsolable is the word that describes the service.
- Parents, other family members, and friends with belief but not active faith.
They had belief but their weak faith didn’t produce joy.
I sensed their faith was at a breaking point. They had many questions. Everyone said the daughter was in heaven, but this belief wasn’t accompanied by a faith strong enough to bring peace.
Deep grief, some hope, and surface joy describes the service.
- Parents who sought the Lord and worshipped regularly.
The funeral was perhaps the most joyous and hope-filled experience of my life!
Yes, grief, but also an active presence of God. Absolutely no denial, false faith, or confidence in fantasies, but a deep faith of joy. The book of James teaches that “we can be immersed in joy when we encounter death and other trials.”
Supernatural joy during grief describes this memorial.
Faith must be exercised to be helpful in a time of sickness or death. We can try to run a mile (easy for those who run a mile or two per week as part of their exercise plan) but impossible for those who don’t exercise at all.
Paul writes in Romans chapter 10 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
A recent Gallup survey reported that fewer than 20 percent of Americans believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God.
If active faith that gives us joy and peace is based upon a belief and practice of the Bible as God’s Word, if more and more Americans are losing trust in the Bible, then too many will not have, at their time of need…
A deep faith that survives grief.