On Saturday August 5, 2023, I attended the funeral of my friend and brother, Brad Russell. An excerpt from Brad’s obituary stated, “Because of Brad’s dedication to the will of our heavenly Father, he was a wise, fierce and loyal protector of his wife, children, parents, siblings and entire family.” In my personal conversations and observations of Brad, I know this to be a true statement, which reminded me of John 15:12, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Yes, I/we lost a brother and friend; let us not forget we have a friend in Jesus.
In the Sacred Selections songbook there is song, # 63 “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” with the following lyrics, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer, O what peace we often forfeit; O, what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” In John 14:16, Jesus promised his apostles and us a Helper (a friend) “He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” Jesus left us the Holy Spirit to aid us in our pain and prayers even though, at times such as this, we often do not know how to find the words in those prayers. So let us continue to “comfort each other… just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
In John 16:7, Jesus tells His apostles that He must go away in order for “the Helper to come.” My friend Brad has gone on, but in His place, Jesus provides us a Helper in the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, I am going away and coming back to you. If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, I am going to the Father, for My Father is greater than I (John 14:27-28).
I loved my brother and friend, even more so I love my friend Jesus, who left me a comforter in the Holy Spirit, and it’s because of this Helper, I can be at peace.