by Tony Nester

Title: From Pain to Praise -- Funeral message for a 27 year old Husband and Father who was killed in a fiery car crash.
Tony R. Nester
Psalm 22

There is so much pain here today.
The pain of being shocked with the news of Ryan's sudden death.
The shock has hit us with brutal force and pushed into a numbness where we're not sure what we feel.
The pain of grief. We know we've lost something that can't be replaced. Ryan's death is a huge loss and we can't pretend that it's anything less than terrible and tragic.
The pain of watching loved ones who are crying and hurting. We want to take away their pain but we know we can't. The pain is too raw and deep and real.

And yet I want to tell you -- Jill (bereaved wife) and the rest of you from Ryan's family -- this pain is not the end for you but is for you the beginning of a journey that by the grace of God and with the help of loved ones can end in hope.

I know it doesn't feel that way now. Today it feels as though we're in a dark pit with no light. Yes, and yet the light will come and you will find your way.

(John 8:12 NRSV) ".. Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.""

Jesus promises that he will lead us out of darkness to light. His promise remains true even when the darkness for a while prevents us from being able to feel the truth of his words.

Jesus himself went through such a time on the Cross. Hanging there in pain and surrounded by those who mocked him he cried out to the Father with the words of the 22nd Psalm.

(Psalms 22:1-2 NRSV) "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? {2} O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest."

Like us the Psalmist was asking "Why?" Why this suffering? Why this pain? Why did God not stop this from happening? Jesus began asking those questions h ...

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