"Who Has The Last Word?"
July 24, 2008
And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33
I remember the day the policeman came to the parsonage and asked me to go with him to break the news to a family their husband and father had suddenly been killed.
I went and I believe as their pastor, my presence and, especially, the comfort of Scripture made a difference.
Even so, it was not my favorite kind of home visit.
Two weeks ago, ABC News ran a wonderful article about the soldiers whose difficult job is to notify families that their loved one has been killed.
The story said it's not the kind of job every soldier can, or wants to do. It told of the training these personnel receive. It referred to the commitment these soldiers feel toward a fallen comrade and their willingness to do what is necessary so the family might be helped through the initial days of mourning.
The article spoke about Casualty Affairs Personnel. That's right; that's what they're called. It told how these individuals must possess the utmost sensitivity. Those folks about whom I have never thought are on my daily prayer list now. May God give them the grace to do a necessary and unapplauded job.
Even as I have been praying for these military personnel, I have also been offering up a prayer of thanks.
You see, unlike the Casualty Affair Personnel, every time I have entered a home with news of a death, I was able to share the story of the Savior.
Because of what the Christ has done through His life, His crucifixion on Calvary's crest, and His resurrection victory over death, I was always able to assure families that death would not have the last word.
Most certainly there were tears; there was pain; there was a profound sense of loss and dark days of mourning. But the Savior's story of salvation made it possible for me to point these heartbroken families to that place where tears will be wiped away, where pain will be set aside, and where mourners will be comforted.
I was able to quote the Savior who said, "Because I live, you shall live also" (John 14:19b).
In short, the Savior gives Bible-believing pastors and congregations a message - - a message that military folks are officially not allowed to deliver: that Jesus and His resurrection make all the difference.
It made all the difference.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, throughout the world death has created mourning families and grieving friends. Send Your Holy Spirit that, while there is time, the joy of Jesus and the salvation He has won for us, may take root in these downcast hearts. By Your power, may families know that in Jesus there is an unending reunion of joy. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries