I had the honor to speak at the funeral for my cousin Harold Wells. Here are the remarks that I gave to my family. This has been a rough few years for the defendants of Howard and Blanche Butler. I wanted to remind us all the God is Faithful and that He is a Strong Tower for us to weather our storms.
Harold or Hurl, as I called him, or Luck as my Dad did, was one of those fixtures that I remember seeing all the time but he was always doing something. The last time I saw him was at Aunt Patricia's house, having breakfast with my Dad.
If you had told me then that we would be here 2 years later I would not have believed you. At times like these we tend to go into autopilot. With so many things to do, things to get done, and the uncomfortable feelings that we want to avoid we allow the cliches to take over.
They are found in the words that we speak in moments like this.
I am so sorry
You have my condolences
I am here for you if you need anything
Let me know how I can help
Many words of comfort that are tossed out so much that they become cliche. Like a reflex, we say them without much thought.
For those that grieve, we accept them without really taking the time to understand what it is that is being offered.
That is what is needed so desperately in moments like this. Help!
Strong arms of support
Shoulders to cry on
Soft hearts that share our losses
Silent moments that are filled with connection
Sounding boards to absorb the pain and returns love and wisdom
The book of Proverbs is called the Book of Wisdom. What wisdom does God speak in moments like this. In Chapter 18 verse 10 is give us this,
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe (Pr 18:10 ESV).
The tower of the Lord is where we find shelter in the midst of the storm. This is where we hunker down in the rough times. It is the staging ground that we prepare to venture out once the storm ends. It is a marker that we use to make sure that we traveling in the right direction. In Psalm 61:2b-4 we read this,
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of his wings! Selah (Ps 61:2–4 ESV).
Again we are reminded to take refuge in the tower of the Lord. To get to higher ground to get a better view of where you find yourself. I know I keep going back to the same idea but I promise I am going somewhere. I promise.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps 18:2 ESV).
Psalm 18:2 also shows the Lord as a fortress but it also reveals him as deliverer. Not just a stationary point but an active one. Not only does He shield us in the storm He has power to be heard in the midst of it.
Now what does all of this scripture mean for all of us gathered here? There are some of us here that need to find the peace and safety found in the tower of God. There are those that need direction as we begin to forge ahead in uncertain times without our familiar markers. There are those who need to be invited back to the tower to learn of what God has done.
In all of that we are called to be the hands and feet of God. Where hands can reach out and touch we need to do it. We need to slow down in these moments and hear what is being said. If there are any words of comfort I can give to my family it is to know that God is here for you and so am I.