Bible Bites

Bible Bites

One Of The Saddest Things I Have Ever Seen

Yes, I would like to share with you one of the most touching, saddest things I have ever seen. The occasion was the funeral of a young man twenty years of age. He was the son of a dear brother and sister in Christ. The young man had been struck by a car while riding a motorcycle. He lay critically injured for seven days and finally on the eighth day, his life slipped away.

The boy was an only child and the apple of his parents' eye. For 20 years they had heaped their love and affection upon this, their beloved son.

The young man was evidently well known and well liked by his contemporaries, as a large percentage of those present for the funeral were young people.

As you might expect, I found the parents overwhelmed with grief. The father sat in a daze. He sat for long periods of time with his face buried in his hands. The mother had wept till tears would no longer come. She sat limp, leaning on the shoulder of a loved one.

The funeral service proceeded in the usual way with a group from the church singing some songs, a reading, a prayer and a short address by the local evangelist. At the conclusion of the service, those present were allowed to view the de- ceased one last time. In due time I found myself moving toward the casket. As I stepped forward for one last look, the fa- ther, with a quiet but firm voice, called my name and motioned for me to come to him. I stopped before his chair and he said, “Raymond, when everyone but the family is out, I want to say a prayer at the casket.” There were still a number of people solemnly and methodically making their way from the chapel. When the last row of non-relatives was being dis- missed, I stepped back to the father's chair. I said, “Tell me again exactly what you want to do.” The father repeated, “When everyone but the relatives are out, I want to lead a prayer.” I replied, “Do you think you can do it?" He answered, “I can.”

I went directly to the undertaker and explained the father’s request. With remarkable finesse and quickness, he asked the pallbearers to step out of the room and called the family together before the casket. Of course, I cannot quote the prayer verbatim, but it was so vivid that the thoughts remain firm in my mind. The father stepped to the casket, f.olded his hands, bowed his head over the body of his dead son and prayed thus:

Our Father, we thank you for letting us have this boy these 20 years. We thank you for all the joy, happiness and pleasure that he has brought into our lives. We are so thankful, dear God, for the love that he gave to us and for all that we meant to each other. But now, Father, we can go no further, we can do no more. O, dear Father, we pray, we hope we did all that could be done... Father, we know he is in the hands of a just God... Oh, Father, we know you are true and must be true to yourself... Father, do what you can for our boy... he has gone from us, and we can no longer see to him... Oh, God, help him anyway you can. And now, Father, forgive us of our sins. Give us the strength and courage to go on... and help us, Father, help us to walk in your way, that we may overcome the world and be allowed to come and be with you eternally. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The father then turned to walk away. Three steps later his knees buckled and he fell to the floor. Three strongmen lift- ed him back to his feet and assisted him to the car. The mother, past crying, gasped for breath and could no longer stand alone.

As the last of the family passed out of the door, the undertaker swiftly closed the casket and gave instructions for the removal of the flowers. l turned away and wept as I have not wept in a long, long time. Truly, it was one of the saddest things I have ever seen! You see, the boy was not a Christian!