Wednesday, March 08, 2006

In Memory of Kyler James McNulty

Here is the sermon from the memorial service. Thanks you for all your prayers.

We are here to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Kyler James McNulty.

Let’s open in prayer.

Jesus, We come before you and ask for your Grace and Mercy and Strength in this time of need. I ask that your Spirit minister to all and that Your Presence be felt. I pray for the words to say and strength to say them. We thank you for you great love and compassion and though at times like this we have many questions, I pray we can take comfort in knowing Your ways are higher than ours and You are familiar with suffering, for you gave your life willingly on a cross to bear our sins. In this suffering you have overturned the worlds power and have set Your Kingdom here now on earth. Only You are our comfort.
In Jesus Name we pray.

This is the hardest thing that I believe any parent would have to go through. Personally this is probably one of the hardest services to prepare for.

I was asked by PJ and Dawn to lead the service, which I take as a great honor. Saying that, I feel so unprepared. I want to give answers and find myself at a loss.
I want to give comfort but find my self finding I don’t know how. So I will not be giving “answers” and believe that it would be a grave mistake to even believe anyone has any.

PJ and Dawn shared with me a few details; I know they will be sharing with you some things also.

Dawn stated she felt sick… so went to the doctors and they told her she was… pregnant.
She did not believe them.

Kyler James McNulty was born at 5:07pm, July 24th 2005, weighing in at 8 lbs and 21 inches in length. This is just three days after my own daughter was born.

I hear the family was a major presence at the birth… I will say from those I have met before Kyler's passing and now that this is a wonderful family. I can see that you all love each other very much. It is great to know PJ and Dawn have such a great support team.

PJ shared how they were anxious for the next step… the ultrasound; Dawn was very excited to find out the sex of the baby… PJ also shared about being a bit overwhelmed when they brought Kyler home…. That the first few weeks where hard, and having a child myself who was not a hardy eater, I can understand the frustration and anxiety a new parent goes through.

PJ also share how in the last month that He and Kyler really began to bond. That Kyler seemed to anticipate the presence of PJ as he even walked by him.

I would like to invite PJ and Dawn now to come up and share a bit.

Is there anyone else who would like to share anything?

Again, I wish I could give answers at times like this… I wish I could pull the curtain away and see what God is doing. Instead I only hope to help us all maybe gain some understanding about suffering.

Jesus gave many promises. Many blessings come with these promises. Though often many people only focus on the positive promises, there is one that on the surface seems like it is not a promise at all.

In John 16, Jesus has just revealed He is Messiah, the Savior. He begins to speak very plainly about His death and returning to the Father Who sent Him. He ends this with verse:

33. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Jesus never promises to take away our troubles, he promises to help us overcome them by His strength.

In the book Job, we find a man that is described as righteous and upright. Of course this is Job. Job had no idea what was to happen. It is said he gave daily sacrifices for his children. He was prosperous and had many cattle and seemed to have a grand home. He also had 7 children.

Satan came before God and set out a challenge to test Job. To see if Job had lost all his wealth, his livelihood, and his seven children that he would turn from God. Satan then wreaked devastation over Job’s life, taking all he had, except, as most commenter’s on the Bible point out, God left him one thing… a nagging wife.

Now, I think we need to realize something that these commenter’s missed. And that is Job’s wife was grieving also. It is said at one point Job is complaining and can’t figure out why God is doing this to him… You see things even go worse. Job himself was covered with boil and the only comfort he had was to sit in ashes and to scrape his scabs with pieces of a clay pot. In this Job’s wife tells Job to “curse God and die!”

I think often people are too hard on Job’s wife. Again, as I said, she was mourning also for she too lost 7 children and all she had. We all mourn in different ways, for I believe there is no wrong way. How can there be? How can one express the pain and emptiness and sickening feelings? But know this, these times, where words fail and the heart is broken beyond what feels ever to be repaired, The scripture tells us in Romans 8:26 the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. In other words, the Holy Spirit can understand what we cannot even express. In this Jesus knows our sorrow.

Job’s friends were not any better, as they decided that Job must have really angered God somehow, and Job better figure out what he did and set it right. This went on for a time as Job kept going over everything and was convinced that he had never upset God. Then a priest named Elihu comes on the scene.

Elihu is angry with Job’s friends and even a bit at Job as he is beginning to be swayed to the idea that maybe God is not as compassionate as he believed.

Then God appears on the scene. There are some great passages where God asks, “Where were you when I hang the stars in the heavens?” God sets it straight that He is in charge and we might not ever get answers. For why would God need to account to a man for what He does? Job realizes that God is so far above us and apologizes to God for questioning.

You see, though in this story, whether one believes it as a historical event or not, in the fact we have this story God is giving us an accounting. Even though He does not have to. He is reaching out and revealing in this story the many different theatres in life, many, which we may never know, are even happening. In this book God pulls back the curtain and shares with us about suffering, and faith in the midst of it. God, in His kindness shares with us in this story the backdrop of the why…. To shame the devil and prove that man can love God even in the midst of the hardest times of life.

In the end Job is given back double of all he lost. He has an even grander home, double the cattle and other livestock… and given 7 more children.

Some look and ask, why only 7 more, shouldn’t God have given Job 14 to set it all right.

Here is the one comfort I will share. As a person of faith, Job believed in the resurrection of the dead. He believed that one day he would see his beloved children again. For though he lost them here on earth, Job would see and hold his 7 children he lost again… in the presence of his loving God.

As people of faith that is the Hope we cling to. That in the resurrection of Jesus we can share in the resurrection of the dead and stand before our Great God and have the blessing of embracing our loved ones who have gone before us.

Let us pray:
O God, Your beloved Son took little children into his arms and bless them: Give us grace, to entrust Kyler into Your never-failing care and love, and bring us all to Your heavenly kingdom; through the same Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and for ever. Amen.


Debbie said...

How beautiful and touching. Kyler's parents are blessed to have you in their lives and blessed that God was able to use you to express His love and understanding of their suffering.
How difficult this must have been for you. I pray for God to give you strength.
Take comfort in the fact that in your obedience many were blessed with some peace, strength and comfort.
I will save these words because they aptly describe the pain of the death of a loved one and the peace and love God is waiting to provide to those who lost.

Be Blessed

leviathen said...


thanks for sharing this. there is so little that you can share to comfort someone who is experienceing somethign so horrible as the death of a child, but i think you took a great angle.

i know when i did my mom's funeral i wrote this whole elaborate thing and when it came time to stand up there i remember thinking "how does any of this help? & How will any of this make us better people. better followers" and i scrapped the whole thing.

trying to explain it or give some structure to tragedy is itself a tragedy sometimes.

i especially like this line "I think often people are too hard on Job’s wife. Again, as I said, she was mourning also for she too lost 7 children and all she had. We all mourn in different ways, for I believe there is no wrong way."

how did the funeral go? overall, i mean. How is the family coping so far?


iggy said...

It was strange... but I actually gained strength from the parents.

They are doing well... considering. TES and I have been mourning this as if it was our own child.... The weird thing is, it would have almost been easier. I mean we both talked and said that we know God and what we believe, so we know God would pull us through. Kyler’s parents may not have our faith.... saying that... I know TES and I would be devastated to the max!

They still need prayer, and we are trying to get together with them for dinner something away from the tragedy.

It was just truly one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was really put in my place as to how powerless I am without God.

In this the funeral went very well. Some of the parents let their children run a little wild, which was distracting a bit, until God reminded me that this was a child's funeral and celebration of his life. I stepped aside the podium for a moment and address the people about the children. I spoke of how Jesus' disciples tried to keep the children from Jesus and He rebuked them and told the children to come to Him... that one needs to be like a child to enter the Kingdom... and that He prayed and blessed them... it was in a way like I dream of our fellowship here in Billings should be.... children comfortable enough to approach me even when I am speaking. I saw that it was as if God Himself entered the room at that point and address the family.