I remember getting together with Al and his wife at dinner one Saturday night. The next Saturday night, my wife and I were in a funeral home because Al’s wife was in a coffin. This was one of the first times that anybody truly close to us had died.
Al came running to me, looking distraught and frustrated. He said with such pleading eyes, “Henry, tell me something I need to hear.”
I had the time that it takes to walk from the coffin to a couch to figure out what to tell him. I needed to pray! The question was, did God have something to say to him in this difficult time, using me as His instrument?
I thought of a passage of Scripture, but I said to myself, I cannot read that to him. This man was upset and deeply troubled. Anyway, I forced myself to tell him, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:2).
Who wants peace at a time like this? Society dictates that you should be unhappy and miserable. What do you do with a verse that says, “rejoice always,” now? What do you do with a verse that says, “in everything give thanks,” now? Or “pray without ceasing?” Do you conclude that these verses do not apply in a situation so full of grief as death? What do you say when your friend reaches out an empty hand and says, “Help me!”?
I said to Al, “Now is the time for you to decide if the Bible means anything to you or not. Second Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Al, if you could be comforted, would you want to be?”
“I do not know,” Al replied.
When the pastor stood up to speak at the funeral, he said, “I never had this happen before, but Al wants to give the message.”
Al said, “As I stood by the coffin and watched the people pass by, everybody looked so hopeless and desperate. But I want to tell you that I have found the source of comfort. I just want to remind you that at an occasion like this God will comfort you. But only one person reminded me of God’s comfort.”
We are all faced with the daily choice of whether or not to submit to the Lord. Which way will you choose?
This story is taken from Dr. Brandt’s book, “The Power of the Call.” The names and certain details in this true case history have been changed to protect each person’s identity and privacy.