Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
A beautiful verse, read today at the funeral service for Bethany (Kroeze) Beckett.
"Death". Without any words at all, the reality and solemnity of death spoke bold and clear, as we stood by the casket and silently viewed the remains of this young woman. In his message to the audience, Shad Kember reminded us that as each of us have a day when we are born as sinners into this world, so we each are appointed a day of death.
"The death of His saints". The message of the gospel was presented with fervour and urgency. Do we choose Christ and His death on the cross to save us from a life of sin and eternal judgement? Or do we reject Him, and pass from this life to endure the wrath of God forever? Will we experience death as a saint, or as a sinner? A solemn choice.
"In His sight". What a comfort it was to be reminded that, in the face of death today, the Lord was looking on. He was quietly standing by, beholding our sorrow, and He was touched by the feeling of our infirmities.
"Precious". Why would the death of His saints be so precious to the Lord? Because their work for Him on earth is completed. Because they have finished their course with joy. And because they have landed safely on the eternal shores of their heavenly home. Precious.
Today, as I ached for the family passing through this tremendous trial, I prayed earnestly for them in their grief. And with such a large number of unsaved in attendance at the service, I prayed earnestly that in hearing the clear message of the gospel, lost souls would acknowledge their sin, and trust Christ for salvation.
Beautiful memories were shared of a young woman who had a deep desire to tell others about the Lord Jesus. A young woman with a kind heart and a spirit of meekness. A young woman who loved and willingly served her husband of four months. And as Bethany's earthly body was laid to rest, there was much weeping and many tears. Hugs were shared and words were spoken in an effort to soothe and ease the physical pain of loss and separation.
But there was One looking on.
One, who was touched by our sorrow.
One, who alone is the Giver of divine peace.
So amid the grief, there was comfort.
Comfort in knowing that, at 12 years of age, Bethany had trusted Christ and received eternal life. (John 3:16)
Comfort in knowing that, a day shy of her 24th birthday, Bethany had kept the faith, and finished her course with joy. (2 Timothy 4:7)
Comfort in knowing that now and forever, Bethany is with Christ, which is far better. (Philippians 1:23)