By Erika Rizkallah
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Six weeks ago, we buried Taryn, my daughter’s best friend and “my daughter in the Lord.” Though she no longer walks this earth, I am and always will be her “extra mom.”
At 21-years old, she seemingly had her whole life ahead of her. I believed in my heart she’d have victory over her many struggles – I’d been praying over her for eighteen years.
The shock and pain of her death is overwhelming and raw.
I officiated the funeral in a room filled with wailing family and friends whose faces are seared in my mind. Strangely, it comforts me because this child was convinced that few people truly loved her. But oh how wrong she was!
During one of the most difficult times of my life, God gave me this divine assignment.
Her family doesn’t believe in God.
They don’t believe in eternal life or that Taryn is at rest in Heaven, free from heartache and pain. They didn’t know that a few months before her death, she’d asked Christ to be her Lord and Savior.
Frankly, it doesn’t mean much to them – because we don’t know what we don’t know. I think God chose me for this task because long ago I was in their shoes. As I sat with her mom the day before the funeral, the rush of sadness and loss washed over me. I remembered the crushing grief of my father’s death and how hopeless I felt.
But God is mysterious. That same grief eventually brought me into a relationship with Jesus and turned out to be my greatest gift.
The night before the funeral, I asked my best friend to pray over me. We asked for God’s grace to help me stand firm and for mercy on all of us. On the way to Taryn’s funeral I was overcome with nausea and I begged God, please help me through this. The enemy did his best to thwart my effort but I knew I was covered in prayer.
I gagged as I walked past the mourners, trying with all my strength not to vomit. The funeral director ushered me to the podium and the organist (an old man in his 70’s) said, “Ma’am? Are you the preacher?” I said, “Yes, I am.” At that moment, God’s peace rested on me and the nausea vanished.
I felt His presence and love pour out on everyone in the room.
The Bible tells us God is close to the brokenhearted and we are comforted so that we can comfort others. He also calls his children to be light for the dark and broken world in which we live.
As believers, I urge you not to waste your voice. Pray for your friends and family members and tell them over and over that he loves and wants to know them.
Those who are lost and live apart from God suffer unimaginable pain. Only he can fill that void and bring peace to the shattered.
Please. Before it’s too late.
Here are some verses to share with those who need it most.