Dick Ling Funeral (Job 19)
1. Today is a day of sorrow and a day of joy. We are here gathered as the family and friends of Richard Ling. We celebrate his life and we mourn his death. Our text this afternoon shows both of these emotions to us as we look at the sufferings of Job. Job is filled with sorrow, tinged with anger, over what God has done to him and what his friends--the ones whom he thought he could count on in his time of trouble--had done to him. So we have here today for Sharon, Randy, Darci, Ryan and everyone else who knew Richard.
2. Particularly you, Sharon, having lived forty-three years with the man that you loved and raised three children with. A man you followed from the Cities to Slayton then back to the Cities again. A man that you--Randy, Darci and Ryan--called Daddy. It's been a difficult time for you as you adjust to life without Richard. It makes you want to scream like Job, "Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me" (v21). You've suffered great calamities and it's only natural to our fallen natures to be upset or even angry with God for having taken him from you. Sharon, I know you've suffered during this time more than others. Not only did you lose your husband of forty-three years, a week later you had to put your beloved Yorkshire Kelsey--a dog that you'd grown fond of like a second set of children--to sleep. It has been a rough time. You wish to cry for mercy from God. I'm here to tell you that you have it.
3. You have mercy from your loving Heavenly Father because He does love you. He has not taken Richard away to punish you or your children or your grandchildren. Shortly before his death, Richard planned a trip back to his hometown. He wanted to see old friends one more time. He made it. However, it wasn't Slayton where his journey finished. It's where all of our journeys finish--before the judgment seat of God. Where Richard can say with Job, "I know that my Redeemer lives" (v25). God has given him mercy and peace from his afflictions throughout this life. Not something that Richard earned for himself. After all, he was known as a hard-working man. Even Richard understood that there were some things that money cannot buy. His place in Heaven is one of those things. His place had already been secured when he was baptized into the Lord's family in Slayton. That Baptism where we share with him in the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ's suffering and death. But not only death. Jesus rose from the dead! So also, Richard too will rise from the dead. Even though his body has been destroyed by sin and fire, he will see God in his own flesh on the Last Day. Just as you will see Richard in his flesh once again. Whole and without defect.
4. Richard has gone home. Your journeys are still underway. While you will never forget all the ways he has touched your lives, your journey continues from here without him. But you have something in common. You have the same merciful and loving Heavenly Father. A Father who wants to shower you with His goodness and one day bring you to be with Him and Richard in Heaven too. This we believe because of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.