+ In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti + Amen.
Text: John 10:27
Theme: “No One Can Snatch Them Out of My Hand.”
Dear Friends of Robi,
God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways. That truth may at first seem to provide little comfort, but it’s an important reminder of our limitations. We must let God be God. There’s no way to manage Him. There is no point in taking issue with His decrees. The Saviour has called Robi to Himself. That He has done so is an act of divine mercy. The Good Shepherd calls His sheep. The place prepared for her is now occupied. Her stresses in life have now ended.
Life rushes along and it’s easy to forget that we are never more than one step from eternity. But it’s a step we can’t manage on our own. Robi understood that she was a sinner. She was struggling to believe that by grace she was also a saint. During visits she pulled her Luther’s Small Catechism off the shelf and said, “I’ve been saying my prayers, pastor; every night.” Then she would often say something to the effect that she hoped she was good enough to ‘make the cut’. It was a great opportunity to talk about the true meaning of the gospel.
We are not saints by nature. We do not become saints by any good deeds, obedience, pure living, or charity. We cannot do anything in part or in whole to make ourselves righteous before God. But righteous we are through faith in what Christ has done for us. In Him we are forgiven, cleared of our guilt.
You see, that’s how God looks at the forgiven sinner. He looks through the cross. And when He looks through the cross He sees His Son and He is pleased. Christ suffered a tortuous crucifixion – the single most sacrificial act in the history of humanity and the only one that could free us from our sins- and then rose victorious from the grave. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.”1
The world is still full of skeptics, it always will be. Christ doesn’t fit into their box. But He didn’t fit into the tomb either. Who are we, as mortals facing the inevitable power of death, to question Him who shattered death’s hold? Who are we, as creatures of the shadows, to interrogate Him who is the eternal source of light? Yes, the complaints will always remain: God is too apathetic, or inattentive, or impotent- and even the strongest believers have their doubts- but what alternative can we offer? Will we charge recklessly, stumbling headlong into the world of unbelief and anxiety? Will we rush into the darkness unarmed and unprotected?
At a time when many of His followers had begun to turn back because His teaching were too much to accept, Jesus asked the His twelve disciples, “You do not want to leave too, do You…Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”2 He is the Prince of Peace. The meaning of the gospel is that God has made an unconditional promise in Christ.
That promise is first made in baptism. Roberta was baptized as an infant and from that moment she was a child of eternal inheritance. She was received into fellowship with the Holy Trinity and in communion with the holy Christian church. Her faith was nurtured further when she was confirmed. That doesn’t mean she was suddenly perfect or immune to the temptations of sin. But it does mean that God promised not to forsake her.
She knew her frailties. She knew her days were numbered. Few, if any, ever knew the true extent of her struggles. She made friends and was a blessing to others. But she kept her personal affairs mostly to herself. But God knew. He knew how physically fragile she was. He tended to her with gentleness and compassion.
Robi is now freed from all pain and sorrow. She is released from the constraints of sin. She awaits the resurrection on the Last Day. Robi was one of Christ’s lambs. He said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.”3 She is in His hands. Thanks be to God!
+ In nomine Jesu +
Christian Funeral of Roberta Sue Miller
22 March 2013
Reverend Darrin L. Kohrt
1 John 11:25
2 John 6:67-69
3 John 10:28