Several people asked that I post a copy of the prayer the Lord gave to me for the celebration service last Thursday. I've written it below.
I also wanted to give you the name of the ministry that Sandra has been working to develop - Home of Hope, Texas. She and Mark have obtained a lovely piece of property, north of Houston. And Mark has assured everyone that this "Dream" will be fulfilled.
Heavenly Father, we come today to celebrate the life that was loaned to us for, what seems to us, too short a time. We celebrate the Godly influence this woman was in each of our lives. We bring our broken and grieving hearts to Your hands and ask that You pour in the oil and wine needed now. Bring healing, O Great Physician.
And in our humbled position - longing to be fully submitted to Your perfect will - we know that questions will naturally come. Questions WILL come.
WHY? Why, O God? Why Sandra? Why now? And before the echo of that question can die away in our ears, we know that there will be no answer, this side of Heaven.
So by the urging of your Holy Spirit, we turn instead to the question: WHAT? What would you have us observe and glean from the life of this beautiful woman? Sandra lived such a fruitful, productive and passionate life; always busy with the furthering of your kingdom. What lessons do you want us to learn and put into place?
In this broken state, our ears are atuned to you perhaps even more keenly and our hearts ask: WHO? Who among us will step up to the front line of battle? Who will take up the banner which Sandra carried so fearlessly? Indeed a great void is now left in our world where this woman walked. Who among us are You tapping, even now, to step into that break in the line in order to close the gap?
Our tear-filled eyes scan the horizon and we cry out: WHERE? Where are you at work, O God? Where would You have us to stand? Where would you have us focus our efforts and the energy born of this deep emotion? Sandra trained us to follow "the manual" and there isn't one for this moment. We are leaning wholly on You.
We press our weary selves into You. We lay our confused heads on Your breast, Jesus and whisper: WHEN? When will the trumpet sound so that we who are alive and remain in You will be gathered with Sandra and the others which have gone on before? We do not grieve as those who have no hope, for we KNOW that we will see Sandra again. But the fact that she has preceded us makes Heaven seem so much more real. And we long for Your coming with a renewed fervency.
We peer through this dark glass with our limited understanding and strain to imagine Your daughter as she dances before Your throne; worshiping the Savior she has loved since childhood. Rejoicing, leaping, standing with that great cloud of witnesses and admonishing us, "Don't grieve for ME. I am home and it is wonderful!"
And Father, some of us cannot help but imagine that perhaps our dear friend is busy organizing and arranging those witnesses. We loved her for the gifts she brought to Your body.
Lord, we are not unwise concerning the schemes of darkness. We are fully aware that in the days ahead, Satan will tempt us again to question Your goodness by asking, "WHY?"
When he brings that to our minds we ask for the courage and strength to turn the question around and ask, "Why indeed!" Why did you love US so much that of all the people on the face of the earth You chose us to enjoy the privilege of knowing Sandra Bass Palmer as co-laborer, friend, aunt, sister, daughter, wife.
We stand in awe of Your loving kindness toward us. We rehearse to ourselves Your faithfulness. We ask for comfort, strength and healing. We ask all these things in the strong name of Christ Jesus our Lord, Savior, Healer and Soon Coming King!
Amen and Amen!