(These are the notes I worked off of for Danny's Graveside service this morning 2/28/23)
We’ve just gone through a very intense and grievous season together trying to care for Danny in his last months, weeks and days.
During that time lots of questions have come to our minds. So I thought I would address a few of those this morning.
The first question is: Why did God take Danny from us? He meant so much to so many? His Instagram ministry had so much potential. So many prayed so hard for his healing…
28 days ago God spoke to me through my reading that morning in John 17
Answer: He doesn’t belong to us. He has been on loan to us. He belongs to Jesus. And Jesus wants Him with Him now.
Mark 3:13,14 “And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, etc.” to be with Him
John 14:1-3 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also.”
John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” Praying for all of His future disciples
The Bible says we are aliens, exiles, strangers, sojourners in this world. We do not belong here. We belong with Him. Once He determines our purpose for being on this earth is accomplished, it is His prerogative to bring us to our true home.
But why cut so short – seemingly? Was there an appointed time for his death all along?
Job 23:13,14 “But He is unique and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such decrees are with Him.”
Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1,2 “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven – A time to give birth and a time to die......”
Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;”
Did Danny serve or fulfill his purpose? Seems to us like maybe he didn’t. But look at John the Baptist -
Example of John the Baptist – grew up with Jesus; understood Him more than anyone else; ministry at the most probably lasted a year;
A second question I want us to think about is: What happens to a believer when he or she dies? Do they just lay in the grave until Jesus returns? Or do they go immediately into Jesus’s wonderful presence? On that first Sunday morning we had with Danny & Candy after we flew in on the 10th, I shared some thoughts with both of them on this.
Four passages in the N.T. at least that shed light on this. The first one is the story of the Rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31 Context is Jesus is contending with the Pharisees who vs. 14 says were “lovers of money”. Purpose of this passage is to show the eternal consequences of being a lover of money instead of a lover of God. But it also speaks to our question of what happens when a believer, a lover of God dies.
Vs. 22 “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.”
The second one is the discussion Jesus had with one of the thieves crucified with Him on Calvary’s cross - Luke 23:39-43. Pastor Tim alluded to this last night in the memorial service. “One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “ Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
The third passage is found in II Corinthians 5:6-8 “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight – we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
The final one is found in Philippians 1:21-23, “But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;
Why does God allow our loved ones to linger so long? If He has chosen to take them, why not get it over with, instead of us having to watch them slowly deteriorate?
1. So we can have time to process their life ending and have closure with them
2. So we can be ready for them to be delivered from their deteriorating bodies of sin and sickness and disease
3. So a thousand of the circumstances that only He sees can be in place
4. So the community the spouse and children are going to need to be able to move on with life in their loved one’s absence can be developed and strengthened.