“No Words to Say”
The Rev Louis B. Tiscione, Pastor
Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
There are circumstances in life that come our way that force us to admit that we have no words to say that explain the circumstance. Our Church Family and I have been thrust into such a circumstance. We have experienced the tragic loss of life of a dear friend and leader in our church. He leaves behind a beautiful family, a loving wife and two wonderful children in addition to many shocked relatives and colleagues in his profession. Our dear friend was a caring and compassionate man. He loved the Lord, trusted in Christ and sought to live his life as a faithful witness of the Risen Lord Jesus. He was blessed by the Lord with gifts of healing and comfort. He was an excellent physician who spent many long hours in the Emergency Room treating patients for all sorts of conditions.
My brother, friend and co-laborer in ministry was a godly example and I will miss him dearly. My thoughts are that my life and the lives of those he touched will never be the same. What can one say to bring comfort? What could I say to his wife and children who were living through this nightmarish event?
I was unable to come up with any suitable words. Everything seemed so trite and inadequate.
I’ve been asking myself, “What would he say?” I know that my dear friend is before the throne of God and being forever glowing in the inexpressible brilliance of the glory of God! But what of us who remain?
Immediately, Psalm 121:1-2 came to my mind. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.” My dear friend and I spoke of the reality of these verses often. We often said in dark situations, God is in charge! He is my hope. We look to Him because He is always faithful to His word.
This Psalm is part of the fifth book of the Psalter. The five books reflect the different stages of the life of Israel, the church in the Old Testament. Book Five is especially appropriate for our future hope of victory promised by God! Book Five includes Psalms 107-150. In general this grouping looks forward to a final restoration. The human authors thank God for His deliverance from captivity and look forward to the eternal reign of Christ.
In particular, Psalm 121 is entitled a “Song of Ascents”. This is a psalm sung by the people of God as they went up to worship God. It is significant as it draws the worshiper’s attention to the reason for his certain hope. Our hope, like the Old Testament saints, is in the God who created everything by the word of His command. He created ex nihilo, out of nothing. He alone is able to give us hope that is certain. He is the one who speaks words of hope, comfort and assurance to His people.
As I searched for words to say, God revealed that He has the words of eternal life! When many were deserting Jesus, He asked His chosen twelve disciples if they would do likewise. “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’”
Indeed, my dear friend knew this truth because God chose to reveal it to him. Likewise, I, now more than ever, remind myself of God’s grace in opening my eyes to the truth. God has spoken and His words are true, reliable, clear, and sufficient.
In the past, when my dear friend and I were confronted with the final enemy, death of a loved one, we would remind each other that we don’t grieve as others do who have no hope.
I read the words of the Apostle Paul with renewed intensity. 1Thessalonians 4:13-14, “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. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
God has the words to say! Brother, life won’t be the same without you here. I am grieving, but I will see you again!