The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (3) He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (4) 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. (5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
We gather together as family and friends to pay our respects and to remember the life of Betty Louise Hodges Street. In God’s good time He was pleased to take Betty from this life. Yet, her earthly memory lives on in the hearts of those who knew her, her loved her.
Betty was a sister in a house full of sisters and brothers. She was a loving wife and caring mother. The Lord blessed her with grandchildren and great grandchildren. And Betty loved her family! She was a soldier and a warrior for her children, always having their backs and supporting them through thick and thin.
Alas, life here on earth is fleeting, a whisp of wind that vanishes as quickly as it arrives. Betty’s life, like all our lives, is no different a tale in this respect than those who have already gone on. We will all die one day. She has now passed into eternity, awaiting the sure and certain hope of resurrection at the return of Christ the Lord.
Betty’s life was not free of hardships, dangers, toils, and snares. But God’s Word reminds us that even though we endure hardship, even though we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” we need not despair or fear of evil. Why is this so? Why do we need not fear evil? We need not fear because “You are with me,” says the Lord. The hardships will come, the trials will assail. Yet, Christians take comfort in the sure promises of God’s Holy Word. God doesn’t leave His people. God doesn’t forsake His people. The Lord upholds His people by the power of His own hand.
This year has been a year of tremendous loss for our family. Betty is preceded in death by Lisa Hodges as well as Loretta Markley. The entire family is in a state of mourning and adjustment as the loss of loved ones keeps on mounting. We are insufficient for these things. These burdens are too heavy to carry in our own strength. But God is here in the midst of the pain! God is here in the midst of sorrow!
We’ve lost many this year. But I remind you by the authority of heaven that those who die in the Lord will yet live again! We have not said “goodbye.” We have only said, “see you in a little while.”
The Old Testament saint Job understood the reality of God’s resurrection power when he exclaimed, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”
Our Lord Christ, at whose feet every knee shall one day bow, and in whose presence every tongue shall confess, promised His children eternal life with Him: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”
Betty has walked through the valley of the shadow of death. And God walked with her the entire way. And now in the presence of God she awaits her new glorified body which the Lord our God has promised her at the resurrection of the dead. “Those who hear,” says Christ, “will live.”
Do you know Christ in the full pardon of your sins? I didn’t ask if you were religious or spiritual. Frankly, we cannot be made righteous by the works of our hands. God saves sinners, poor and needy sinners. So, do you know that you are a sinner with no hope apart from God’s mercy in Christ? Do you believe that Christ paid for your sin debt with His own blood on the cross? Do you trust Christ alone for all righteousness before God?
I know, that there is coming a grand reunion day. There is coming a day when I shall behold my blessed Savior, Christ Jesus the Lord. I shall be reunited with family members who have gone on before me. What a glad and happy time awaits the children of promise!
Yet now, we mourn in the night as we await the dawning the day! Even so, cries my heart with all that is within me, come quickly my Lord Jesus! – Amen.
Everyone the Father gives to me will come to me;
I will never turn away anyone who believes in me.
He who raised Jesus Christ from the dead
will also give new life to our mortal bodies
through his indwelling Spirit.
My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;
my body also shall rest in hope.
You will show me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life
through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty
God our sister Betty, and we commit her body to the ground;
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless
her and keep her, the Lord make his face to shine upon her
and be gracious to her, the Lord lift up his countenance upon
her and give her peace. Amen.