The following is a talk which was shared with school children after their friend and fellow class mate died:-
1. It’s OK to Cry and be Sad
Sometimes people tell us that we shouldn’t cry, we should be strong. But the Bible tells us that when his friend Lazarus died, Jesus cried (John 11:35). Jesus was stronger than any of us but his love for his friend was so great that he cried and his tears were real. Boys and girls, when you remember Ruth and you start to cry, don’t try to keep it in, it’s OK to cry.
2. Little Children are Special to God
Jesus taught his disciples that little children were very important. Listen to this story from the Bible:
‘One day the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 18)
On another day, people brought their children to see Jesus and the disciples tried to stop them because the disciples thought that little children were not important. Listen to what Jesus said,
‘Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”’ (Matthew 19)
You see boys and girls, you are all special to Jesus and Ruth was special to Jesus.
3. Death comes to everyone at different times
Some people live very short lives, like Ruth and some people live very long lives. My wife and I had a baby that died before it was even born, while it was still in my wife’s tummy. That was a very short time to be alive. But there is a lady in my church who is going to be 102 on Tuesday. We don’t know how many days or years we are going to live and we have to enjoy the days and years that we have.
In the Bible, in Psalm 90, God tells us that we might live for as long as 70 or 80 years but we don’t really know how long we will live. That’s why it is so important to live every day as well as we can.
4. God loves us
Listen to what the Bible says about this:
First from the Old Testament: ‘For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him…’
Then from the New Testament, where Paul says this: ‘I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
Then we have the most famous verse in the whole Bible where Jesus says this: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’
Isn’t that wonderful? God loves us and if we trust in him, then one day we will be with him forever.
5. Death is not the end
Although Ruth has died and she is no longer with us, the Bible tells us that death is not the end.
Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whosoever lives and believes in me will never die.’
One day Jesus was discussing this with his disciples. Listen to what Jesus said: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.’
Isn’t that wonderful. Heaven is like a big house with many rooms and there is room for all those who trust in Jesus.
Our heavenly Father, we are very sad today and we cannot understand why Ruth should die. It all happened so quickly and we are shocked and hurt. Father, we want to believe that you loved Ruth as much as we did and that she is now safe in your arms. Give us the faith to believe that and to trust you.
We thank you Father for all that the Bible teaches us about your love for us. We know that your ears are always open to hear the cries of your children, and that you are nearest to us when we need you most.
We thank you too, Father, for the promise that those who trust in you will come and be with you after we die. Help us to believe that death is not the end.
Heavenly Father, we pray today for Ruth’s family and her friends. Be with them Lord in their sadness, watch over them every day. Help them to trust you and to know that you love them and are with them every minute of every day. Father, the next few days and weeks and months are going to be very hard for everyone who knew Ruth. Come near to each one of them.
Heavenly Father, we pray for this school, for the teachers, staff and children. Bring comfort and strength to everyone.
Thanks to Rev Professor Andrew TB McGowan, who has kindly shared his resource with us.