In Memory of Nella Helm

The Scripture Reading
Timothy 1:8-14

The Message
We’re here this afternoon to commemorate and remember Nella Helm. Most of us only knew her for a couple of months, others knew her all of their lives. What all of us remember about her, and I hope will remember about Nella for the rest of our lives, is that she knew where she was going. Nella knew that one day she would be where she is right now—in the bosom of Abraham, rejoicing with the angels, singing praises non stop to the King of Glory.

I’m one of those folks who only knew Nella for a few months.

I knew her because she came to Bible studies at my house and participated with everyone else in talking about what a wonderful Savior we worship and Lord we serve. One of the things I believe I know about her—since we’re remembering her—is that she would be a disappointed if we were going to sit around this afternoon and remember her in a somber or morose way.

You see, Nella agreed with the Apostle Paul when he said that he didn’t know whether it would be better to be with the Phillipians or to go to be with the Lord. He knew that being with the Lord would be much better for him, but not better for the people who would miss him. So he chose to remain on this earth, in his body. But all of us come to a time when God says, “No, I need you here. You’re ready to enter into your reward. Come on Home.” And for the faithful Christian, those are the greatest words a person can hear. Being face to face with the Lord Jesus can’t be anything but wonderful. All the saints in the Bible longed to see God face to face. To sit at his feet. To gather with all the saints who have gone before and worship with every fiber of their beings.

Nella was no different. She knew that what she faced in the presence of God was going to be glorious—and she was right.

How do I know? How can I make such strong pronouncements? How could Nella be so secure and confident in her redeemer? Well, remember the passage I read earlier? It said, in part, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” Nella knew whom she believed in. She knew Jesus. She lived daily in His presence and in communication and communion with Him. She knew Him. She talked to Him. She saw Him at work in her life and in the life of those she prayed for. She saw Jesus and loved him and knew he loved her. And like the Apostle she could say He knew her (which when you think about it is much more important).

Because she knew Jesus, Nella was confident that He was faithful. He never let her down. She read her Bible and learned about history and knew that God never lets His children down. He is always faithful. And because He is faithful, when He promises a thing, He will do it. Jesus said that He was going away to prepare a place for His brothers and sisters. He said where He was going, we would also be going. He promised that if we trusted Him, He would give us eternal and everlasting life. Because He was always faithful in the past, Christians like Nella could be convinced and extremely confident that when her breath faded away, when her heart stopped beating, and when her body began turning to dust, she would be ushered without hesitation into the very joy-filled presence of the God who loved her and continues to love her face to face even as I’m telling you about it now.

Nella didn’t want us to remember her with sadness. She is anything but sad right now. Of course we will miss her and grieve because she isn’t with us anymore. But when you think about it, this whole event is more like Nella moved out of town than anything else. And like David said about his son who died, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is . Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” In a real sense, though Nella has moved away those of us who know Jesus will, when our time comes, go to her. Grieving is normal and shouldn’t in any way be made to sound unnecessary or somehow wrong. But remember, as much as we miss her, she is a lot better off where she is now than if she were here with us.

There are some here this afternoon who knew that everything I’m saying about Nella is true for Nella, but you do not share her faith in God. I want you to know that you can have the same confidence that Nella had. You can have her faith. You can know, like Nella did, that God keeps his promises. You grew up in Christian America. You heard the Gospel of Jesus when you were a little boy or when your mother took you to church every Sunday. And you know that all you have to do to have the same confidence in your future that Nella had, is to let go of trying to run your own life and submit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. As you remember Nella Helm, remember that she had great confidence that her destiny was secure because she served a faithful God; the God who loves her and embraces her right now. She isn’t just in a better place because she was sentimental and smarmy. If you knew her at all you knew these didn’t characterize Nella. Nella is in a better place because she put her trust in Christ the Lord and He is trustworthy. He can bring you to Himself as He has brought Nella to Himself.

Amen.

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