This blog is devoted to discussing the pursuit of eternal life.
Discussion and participation by readers is desired,
but contributions should correlate to the book,
The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology
of Perseverance & Assurance

Thomas R. Schreiner
& Ardel B. Caneday

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Lament for a Friend

Today, September 17, is the tenth anniversary of the memorial service for my wonderful and close friend, Dave Montbriand, who died accidentally altogether too soon. I thank the Lord that I had the blessing to know him and to love him as a dear brother. Following is the lament that I wrote and read at his memorial service. My practice has become to compose my own psalms in the form of biblical psalms. Rest in peace, dear brother, rest in peace until Resurrection Day!

A Lament

On the Occasion of David Montbriand’s
Memorial Service
September 17, 1996

Truly God is good to those who fear him;
         the Lord is faithful to his children,
                  who put their trust in him.

It is because I trust in you
         that I plead my case before you;
To you I raise my lament,
         because my hope is in you alone.

Why, O Lord, have you smitten me?
Why have you crushed me with this grief,
         O Lord in whom I place my confidence?

A great evil has befallen me, O Lord;
         a tragedy has overwhelmed me.
Why have you snatched away my beloved friend
         in the midst of his years?
         --My dear brother
                  who cherished life as a gift from you,
                  who cheered my heart with his presence,
                  who spoke kind words when afflicted,
                  who encouraged others through their troubles,
                  who taught me to believe in your kindness by his
                           God-like kindness.

Why has my righteous friend perished from the earth?
         Why is it that the wicked prosper and the faithless live at ease?

Why does a righteous man receive what the wicked deserve,
         and the wicked receive what should come to the righteous?

As I ponder the works of your hands,
         the design of your providence,
         I know that--
                  No one can fathom your purpose;
                  No one can wrap one’s mind around your plan.
                  Your ways are beyond comprehension;
                  Your counsel exceeds all human wisdom.                  

When I reflect upon your awesome sovereignty,
         in my frailty I ask--
                  Who is like you, O God?
                  Who can grasp the hurricane in one’s hand,
                           or harness the turbulent winds of a tornado?
                  Who can stop the surging sea,
                           or reverse the river’s current?
                  Who is able to straighten what you, O God, have made
                           or who can account for the things you have left
                  Who has power over the day of one’s death,
                           or who is able to add an hour to one’s life?

As I meditate upon your word, O Lord,
         you instruct me that--
                  All creation groans under your curse,
                           under the heavy burden you have placed
                                    upon mankind.
                  Where one expects to find justice, there is injustice.
                  Where one hopes that peace resides, there dwells strife.
                  In this world you have appointed a time for every
                           a place for every deed.
                  You have established in every heart a sense of eternity,
                           a yearning for divine justice,
                           a craving to see all things set aright.

                  Yet, you have veiled yourself 
                           behind the frowning providence of your curse
                                    for Adam’s sin,
                                    for humanity’s disobedience.

         Therefore, no one can fathom your sovereign plan
                  from beginning to end.
         Whatever your mighty hand moves to accomplish
                  is done without being thwarted.
         Whatever you purpose to fulfill
                  is realized without resistance from anyone.
         For you, O Lord, are the almighty God,
                  the God who shall judge all things.

Therefore I bow in humble worship,
         I acknowledge you as my God,
                  the God in whom my friend trusted,
                  the God in whom he placed his confidence.

I, too, trust in you, O Lord,
         in your goodness and uprightness.
For I know that I shall join my friend
         when we kneel before our Redeemer,
         our Redeemer who shall take his stand
                  upon the earth in the last day
                  and shall make all things new.

O Lord in whom I place my confidence,
         Why have you crushed me with this grief?
         Why, O Lord, have you smitten me?

To you I raise my lament,
         because my hope is in you alone.

It is because I trust in you
         that I plead my case before you.

Truly God is good to those who fear him;
         the Lord is faithful to his children,
                  who put their trust in him.

You, O Lord, save those, who like my friend,
         find their delight in you. Amen.

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