Tuesday morning we all heard the news that our hearts had sensed was coming. Our sweet little Layla Grace has died and is now with God in heaven. I know we all join together in praying for Ryan and Shanna, and sisters Jenna and Claire.
As Layla’s pastor, I’d like to share with you the hope that we have as Christians, and what that means for Layla and for you. First, let me express my sorrow to each of you as well – even those of you who never knew Layla personally are certainly experiencing tremendous loss. I weep with you. Layla is a precious girl with an amazing spirit, and she will be deeply missed. But, in the midst of your grief, let me share a word of hope from the Bible which tells us “we don’t grieve like those who have no hope.” We grieve . . . but we grieve with hope – Hope in God’s promise that Layla is now in heaven with Jesus where there is no more sorrow, no more pain, no more cancer. Hope that even though we die in this life, we live again, forever. Hope, that even though we will no longer physically have her in our lives here on earth, she will be forever in our hearts . . . and when we someday face our last breath that we will have the opportunity to see her again.
We’ll have time in the coming days, and especially at Layla’s funeral, to reflect on the many different emotions and questions that will almost certainly be raised through Layla’s life and death. I will do my best as a humble servant of God to bring you the hope and the peace that God wants for you in this time. For now, though, let me simply share with you a few Bible verses for you to cling to and cry over. May God be with the Marsh family and with each of you.
– Pastor Michael
Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. – John 11:25-26
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. – I Thessalonians 4:13-14
(Jesus said) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:1-6
(Jesus said) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
(Jesus said) “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33