Prayer About an Unexpected Death

Sermon: Funeral Sermon for a Sudden, Unexpected Death – Mark 4

Prayer About an Unexpected Death

This sermon is Chapter 8 of A Minister's Treasury of Funeral and Memorial Messages by Jim Henry, former pastor of First Baptist Church Orlando, Florida

Scriptures:Mark 4:35-41


The Sea of Galilee is a sparkling jewel in the northern part of Israel. It is not large. It's more a lake than what we think of as a sea.

Only thirteen miles in length, seven and one-half miles at its widest point, surrounded by hills, including the Golan Heights, it was the chief source of revenue for its fishermen, of pleasure, and of beauty for those who lived around its shores. Jesus made his headquarters here.

Many of his miracles and much of his ministry took place here. He called the early band of brothers, his disciples, from this area.

Seeking a break from the demand of the excited crowds that had begun to follow him, Jesus took a boat, and with some of his disciples, drifted off for some rest and relaxation. But suddenly their leisure day was disrupted by a violent storm. This was not unusual. The sea is 680 feet below sea level, surrounded by hills that send the cool air from the heights of Mt.

Hermon hurtling through their ravines that serve as giant wind tunnels to collide with the warm, moist air flowing east from the Mediterranean Sea. The result can produce a very dramatic storm. In that sudden storm, Jesus did an astounding thing.

And in that we learn some things that counsel us in the light of the devastating experience that we seek to navigate through in these days.

I. No guarantee against the sudden

First of all, we are reminded that although the Sovereign of the universe is on the boat, it is no guarantee against the sudden—in this case, a sudden storm (v. 37).

It has been the mistaken notion of many that if a person is a faithful follower of Jesus, he or she is protected from the troubles of life.

Their children will be successful, sickness will never come their way, their financial ventures will always succeed, and disappointment will never knock at their door.

A quick look at some of the men and women who knew and served God in the Scripture will reveal the falsehood of this belief. Joseph went to prison. Job lost everything but his life. Jeremiah was put in prison. Paul had an affliction that plagued him all his life.

All of the original disciples were martyred for their faith in Jesus, except one. And he was an exiled prisoner. Jesus never promised a “rose garden” tour of life. However, he did promise, “I am with you” (Matt. 28:20).

It may be tough to be in a storm with Jesus, but imagine being in one without him.

II. It may appear God isn't doing anything

Second, it may appear that in these sudden experiences of life that grieve us and threaten our sense of God's nearness and care that God isn't doing anything (v. 38). These experienced, veteran fishermen were thoroughly frightened. Their lives were on the line, yet Jesus appeared to be sleeping through the situation.

In life, things come at us that we cannot control. Some things come through the actions of other people, and some things in life are never explained. God seems to be silent when we long for a word. One theologian, in facing this dilemma, said that “sometimes the silence of God is God's highest thought.” (Helmut Thielick, source unknown) 

these hardy fishermen, we protest the seeming inaction of Jesus when he seems to be asleep at the wheel of our lives.

III. Fear can replace faith

Third, we can respond Jesus' disciples. Fear can replace faith. Jesus did hear their cries for help. He sprang into action.

He spoke, and the winds ceased and the waves curled up around his feet submissive tigers under the voice of their trainer.

He then asked a penetrating question, “Why are you so afraid?” There are three words for fear in the language of the New Testament. Here Jesus used the one that is always used in a bad sense.

The men were deeply terrified. When fear comes, faith is removed. We live in a world with much to cause fear: the fear of terrorists, of illness, of losing our jobs, of being victimized by brutal criminals or white-collar fraud.

Fear can immobilize us as it did Jesus' companions. When fear knocks, we must send faith to answer the door. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7 KJV).

When the sudden comes in our lives, the Sovereign Savior is looking for us to look at him. They had seen Jesus do mighty things in recent days. They knew he had the power to heal the sick and cast out demons, but their faith trembled at this unexpected turn of events.

In the light of his power and faithfulness in the past, Jesus asked, “Do you still have no faith?” (v. 40).

Jesus challenges us to look deep within us and remember some things that can turn our pain, our grief, our questions, and our uncertainties into the beginning of healing in the face of this unanticipated event.

IV. Jesus hears our cries

We are to remember that although Jesus did not hear the howling storm, he heard his disciples' cries. Much as a mother hears the cries of her baby and a shepherd hears the bleat of the sheep, so does Jesus hear our cries. “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isa. 59:1).

V. Sudden storms serve to turn us to Jesus

Sudden storms also serve to turn us to Jesus (v. 38). We can be so caught up in everything else in life that God is moved into the edges of our existence. It doesn't happen quickly. But gradually the joy of knowing and serving him evaporates from our lives. Then the sudden storm hits. Before the storm we had forgotten what God looks and now, in the storm, we turn to see him again.

VI. Storms don't last forever

This story tells another helpful truth: storms don't last forever.

In certain localities in this country and the world, as on the Sea of Galilee, a storm can brew within a matter of minutes and hurl its fury in torrents of rain, lightning flashes, and thunder. Then it's over.

One minister said his favorite text was, “It shall come to pass” (Acts 2:17 KJV). So, too, will the turbulence through which we presently walk. The pain will linger, but its power will be softened.

VII. God will assist others

The Sovereign of the Sudden does something else in our storms. He will assist others—who see us coming through our assault—to be blessed in the storms they are facing. When Jesus' boat started across the lake, “there were also other boats with him” (v. 36).

They became survivors, too, because Jesus worked in the one and the overflow of protection encircled the others. People watch how we deal with our crises.

Is God real in our lives? Is the faith we have practiced, sung about, and shared with others robust enough to take this blow?

A couple had prayed for a baby boy for years. God answered them after several childless years with a girl. A few years later, a boy arrived. But in his preschool years, he became violently ill one afternoon. He was immediately rushed to the hospital.

The trauma team did their best. After a couple of hours, a doctor approached the mother with the news that the child's condition was critical. He would either die, or be physically disabled for life if, by slim chance, he survived.

He turned to walk away while family and friends stood in stunned silence.

Suddenly, the mother called the doctor to come back. She said, “Doctor, thank you for what you've done. This child belongs to God. We prayed for him. God gave him to us. We gave him back to God. If God takes him, he's okay. If he leaves him, that's okay. If he chooses to take him, we're okay.” And they were. And “other boats” were heartened by their experience.

VIII. The sovereign of the sudden is in control

Finally, storms remind us that the Sovereign of the Sudden is in control (v. 41). The disciples were overwhelmed by what they had seen. They had a new fear: a reverential fear. They had seen Jesus, with a word, rebuke wind and waves.

They were reminded that the Sovereign of the Sudden is in control when everything else seems to be totally control. That boat could not sink because God's plan for the world was on it.

Someone has said, “No water can swallow the ship where lies, the master of heaven, and earth, and skies.” (Mary A. Baker, “Peace Be Still,” 1941)

God's plan and purpose for our loved one and for our lives are not subject to whims, accidents, circumstances, illnesses, and evil. God works through these to bring about his will. We stand on the assurance, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isa. 43:1–3).

David Watson was the dynamic pastor of the St. Michael's Church in York, England. Large crowds filled the sanctuary week after week to hear him call them to faith and fellowship with Jesus. In the prime of his life, Watson was diagnosed with cancer. The people prayed, and he fought it. But, in the end, it ravaged his body and he went home to the Chief Bishop of his soul.

The following Sunday, a cherished friend was asked to lead in the worship and the communion service. When he stood to speak, emotion overcame him as he thought of the absence of his recently deceased friend. He wept, as did the grief-stricken congregation. Then someone thought about a phrase that David often used.

Sometimes, even in the middle of a message, Watson would shout, “Our Lord reigns!” Quietly, but strong enough to be heard, he said, “Our Lord reigns.” Another picked it up. Then another joined them.

Soon the packed sanctuary was filled with hundreds of voices, chanting together on their feet, “Our Lord reigns!” For minutes, it rocked the cavernous worship hall. Applause and cheering broke out.

Depression gave way to celebration. The Sovereign of the Sudden was, is, and always will be in charge. In our pain and sorrow, we stand on the everlasting truth, “Our Lord reigns!”

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Planning Sunday after an Unexpected Tragedy

Prayer About an Unexpected Death

Last Thursday at 10:06 AM, Brian Chesemore, a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, texted me and the other pastors. He informed us that one of our members, 42 year old Wade Stephenson, had been in a “very bad car accident” and was on his way to the hospital. An hour later Brian simply texted: “He’s with the Lord.”

I wept uncontrollably. Wade was a gentle, grateful, generous, godly man, a musician and leader who was loved and respected by everyone who knew him. He left behind his dear wife Rebecca, three young daughters, and a soon to be born son.

The tragic news spread quickly throughout our three year old church plant and rocked our world. But in the midst of profound grief, the gifts of the Spirit were on full display. By nighttime a page, Loving the Stephensons, enabled church members and friends to sign up to minister to Becca and her family in numerous practical ways, including financial gifts. The response was overwhelming.

A Change of Plans

We had already planned Sunday, but as CJ Mahaney has often told me, “The Holy Spirit helps us plan, but our plans are not the Holy Spirit.” So at the hospital on Thursday morning, we started over.

We would point people to the gospel from God’s Word as always, but Wade’s death brought a fresh immediacy to the truths we proclaim every Sunday. People would be grieving.

 How could we comfort them with the hope of the gospel without sounding shallow or callous? How could we keep Sunday from becoming a memorial service, and yet still weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15)?

We ended up planning the meeting by email, and were nailing down final decisions Sunday morning. Being in pastoral ministry for decades teaches you there are no formulas to care for people’s souls. I thought it might be helpful, though, to share what we ended up with, and the thought process behind it.

The Sovereign God Who Sees and Knows

We started the meeting with a call to worship from Ps. 31:7: I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul.

 I said something , “Sometimes we come into a Sunday gathering with little or no desire to sing God’s praises or be with God’s people. We’re in a time of affliction. Our souls are distressed. And yet God calls us to rejoice in him because he sees our affliction. He knows the distress of our souls.

And he assures that in Jesus Christ, his steadfast love is unchanging and unending. Let’s praise the God whose faithfulness never fails us.”

The first song was Great is Thy Faithfulness.  We wanted to start with a familiar and reflective song that reminded us who God is and what he’s done for us in Christ.

We then sang God Moves, my 2005 adaptation of WilliamCowper’s hymn that uniquely explores the mystery of God’s sovereignty. I edited a few lines and added a chorus that expresses a confident trust in God.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face

So God we trust in You, O God we trust in You
When tears are great and comforts few
We hope in mercies ever new
We trust in You

Following the song, Jeff Purswell shared how we had opportunity to trust God’s sovereignty as a result of this past week’s events. He referenced Wade’s death and reminded us that our grief can be hope-filled because Jesus has overcome the grave. He then read John 11:17-27, the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

Turning Our Hearts to the Gospel

We then sang It Is Not Death to Die, another Sovereign Grace Music hymn adaptation. The musical tone was still subdued, but we began to turn our hearts to the hope we have in the gospel. Death is our foe and a result of the fall, but for the Christian, death is a doorway not a destination.

It is not death to die, to leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close the eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne delivered from our fears 

That led into the modern hymn Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery. We focused exclusively on the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and return of Christ, which form the substance of our hope in the midst of our sadness. It ends with the lines:

What a foretaste of deliverance, how unwavering our hope
Christ in power resurrected, as will we be when he comes

We were finally ready to sing of Christ’s triumph over death with faith-filled hearts. Sojourn Music’s New Again was perfectly suited for that purpose.

Death is defeated, and Jesus reigns
Tell the world there is hope in His name
He pushed back the darkness, He conquered our sin
And Christ will make all things new again

Brian Chesemore then led us in a pastoral prayer, devoting the first portion to praying for Rebecca, her family, her extended family, and those affected by Wade’s death.

Jesus, the Compassionate Conqueror

For the sermon, CJ preached on, “Making Our Way to the House of Mourning” from John 11:1-44. He skillfully, wisely, and powerfully grounded us in the unchanging hope of the gospel, not only reminding us of Jesus’ authority over the grave, but spelling out specific ways we as the church can care for someone who is grieving. You can download or listen to the audio here.

Our final song was In Christ Alone. We reminded each other that because of the cross, “the wrath of God is satisfied,” and that, “from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.”

Before giving the benediction, CJ took a moment to instruct the church to let Becca and her family leave the meeting first. It was one more way of pastoring both the Stephenson family and our members. CJ then spoke these words from 2 Thess.

2:16-17 over us: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

” We left more aware that Jesus himself will comfort us in our sorrow not only during the present circumstances, but for eternity.

Different, but the Same

We’re just beginning to care for the Stephenson family, and will continue to grieve with hope. But God encouraged our hearts this past Sunday in ways I find difficult to describe. It was a work only his Spirit could accomplish.

And yet as much as the circumstances of this past week impacted our Sunday plan, in many ways we did what we always do.

 We sang songs, prayed prayers, and heard a message from God’s Word that displayed our sin, God’s mercy through the cross, Christ’s compassion, the sovereignty and wisdom of God, and the reality of heaven and hell.

I’m grateful we didn’t need to teach unfamiliar doctrines or develop a new vocabulary to comfort people in their grief and point them to the glorious hope we have in Christ.

It’s a hope that sustains and strengthens us, even in our darkest hours.

(Image courtesy of

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Mother Shares Unexpected Death of Her Son, Anti-Vaxxers Attack

Prayer About an Unexpected Death

Every day anti-vaccine advocates scour and look for death announcements of children. When one of them finds a photo or update about a recently deceased child, groups of them swarm to the page to spread propaganda to the grieving parents.

Recently a mother in New Jersey shared the unexpected passing of her 6-month-old son, Josiah. In her now deleted post, the mother shared that Josiah passed away in his sleep.

Within in hours of her public post on , the mother’s page was littered with messages from anti-vaxxers. The mother, Amy, did not comment publically to any of the anti-vaxxers. However, she released a statement to Without A Crystal Ball regarding the experience and the death of her son.

On October 26th, Josiah went to sleep and never woke up. His mother, Amy, shared a photo of Josiah on her . In the post, now deleted, Amy said Josiah passed away the evening before. Doctors believed Josiah died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Within in hours, the image of Josiah began circulating through anti-vaccine pages. Anti-vaccine advocates flocked to Amy’s page and left thousands of messages. They dropped links about vaccines causing SIDS.

However, vaccines do not increase the risk of SIDS in infants. In fact, vaccinated infants are 50% less ly to die from SIDS than unvaccinated babies.

Due to Josiah’s age of 6 months, numerous anti-vaxxers suggested recent vaccinations ly lead to his death. According to the recommended immunization schedule by the Centers for Disease Control, 6-month-old infants receive 3-4 vaccines.

In this round of vaccines, most infants receive their third round of DTaP Diphtheria, tetanus, & acellular pertussis. Anti-vaxxers on Amy’s page shared that many children that receive DTaP can die unexpectedly following the shots.

For hours, Amy’s post lit up with thousands of comments, links, and graphs of anti-vaccine propaganda. Family members of Josiah found their comments lost in the myriad of spam comments. Amy found herself inundated with spam during a time when she wanted to grieve.

Pro-vaccine advocates quickly jumped in and attempted to squash the comments by the anti-vaxxers. Several of the pro-vaccine advocates found themselves in direct message battles with the anti-vaxxers.

Seeing the fight unfold in real-time, I reached out to the mother to offer my condolences. No mother during a time of grieving should have their status hijacked by strangers in this way. Additionally, I wanted to let her know that her son’s image had been spread widely into anti-vaccine groups. I asked if Amy wanted to comment on the allegations of vaccines causing his death.

Surprisingly, Amy responded and let me know she wanted to issue a statement.

I let her know to take her time in crafting her response. Amy took a week to get back to me to issue her statement. During that time, she and her family laid Josiah to rest. After the family finished with Josiah’s funeral they shared with me:

“We were initially baffled by the comments referring to our son’s death as being caused by vaccinations. While he did get his 6-month shots (spaced out, mind you) recently, we hadn’t told anyone that. So we had no idea why our friends would have jumped to that conclusion when we only mentioned SIDS in our initial post.

Then we realized these were total strangers for the most part. For the record, we have no reason to believe his recent vaccinations played a part in his death. We aren’t angry at the commenters, as they were going off of information someone else misled them with.

It is a bit irritating, and frankly disrespectful, for websites and pages to use our son’s death to falsely propagate their cause, with no knowledge of the circumstances whatsoever. We are appreciative of the number of people who took the anti-Vaxxers to the task, sometimes in humorous ways that made us laugh which is something we desperately needed at the time.

And thank you to Kathrine Paulson for reaching out to us to offer her condolences, and a chance to set the record straight. We also would to thank the anti-vaxxers who – despite being ignorant – also offered their sincere sympathies. It is a challenging time and prayers would still be very much appreciated.”

-Ryan and Amy

Even under attack, Amy and her husband, Ryan, found a way to act with grace to all parties involved in the dispute. Amy and Ryan are clear that Josiah’s death was not related to a vaccine.

Perhaps lost in the whole dust-up is that a family lost a treasured member of their family. Knowing that the parent’s miss their son, I asked Amy to share with everyone what she loved most about Josiah. Also, I asked her to share what she missed most about him.

“Josiah came into this world fast and LOUD! We named Josiah after a King in the Bible. He was loved by us and by his 3 big sisters. He was a big boy! Josiah loved to nurse and I loved to nurse him. He had the darkest brown eyes and such a sweet smile. He was perfect in every way and we miss him very very much,” Amy responded.

Josiah seemed a sweet baby that brought much joy to his family.

Unfortunately, Amy and Ryan are the not first parents that have experienced the harassment by anti-vaxxers. Every day anti-vaxxers find posts related to infant loss. After they identify the target, they swarm to the page and attack with their propaganda.

In some unfortunate cases, anti-vaxxers create shareable MEMEs with the child’s image without the parent’s consent. In one example I found this image on a public Anti-Vaccine page posted:

Other parents have accused Stop Mandatory Vaccine page owner Larry Cook of using unauthorized photos of their children to push their agenda. The truth is the images that are shown representing dead infants are stolen photos. In some cases, parents find pictures of their ALIVE babies used in these campaigns.

The moral of the story is that we must be careful what we see online. A meme or circulating image can be altered, doctored, and edited to fit any agenda. For Amy and Ryan, Josiah’s photo was used to promote their “vaccines kill,” campaign falsely.

Josiah and hundreds of babies him die every day for unexpected reasons. Their deaths are not related to vaccines. Furthermore, their families are exploited and used to push a false agenda.

Please extend your most profound condolences to Amy and Ryan. They need love during this time, not harassment.

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Sympathy Words To Write About Unexpected Death

Prayer About an Unexpected Death

Words of sympathy in a card to someone grieving is a heartfelt gesture that is sure to be appreciated. Here are some words of sympathy on an unexpected death …

“My deepest sympathy on your unexpected loss. You have my sincere regrets.”

“So sorry to hear about your unexpected loss. You have my deepest sympathy.”

“I know how hard an unexpected loss is. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy at this tragic time.”

“I was deeply saddened to hear about your loss. I know it was so unexpected. You have my deepest sympathy.”

Sympathy Letters About Unexpected Death

A letter of sympathy is a great way to let the grieving know how much you care. What follows are some sample letters of sympathy on an unexpected death …

Dear Jack,

I was so sorry to hear about your unexpected loss. I am still in shock myself. You have my very deepest sympathy.

Your wife was such a lovely person and so active and vibrant, which makes it even harder to comprehend her death. She and I spent a wonderful afternoon together just a week or so ago. I'm so glad now that I had that time with her.

I have so many fond memories of her that will help me in my grief. We enjoyed each other's company so much and I will miss her dearly. I don't think I have ever had so close a friend that always knew exactly was on my mind, and vice versa.

I want you to know that I share in your grief.

In Deep Sorrow,

Rhonda Wallace

Dear Jill,

Please accept my sincere sympathy on the untimely passing of your husband. His death was a total shock to all of us. It was so unexpected.

Your husband was a valued member of our parish and I had the pleasure of working with him on many church projects. He was a tireless worker and a great asset to our work.

I know that death is never easy to accept, but I know that when it is so unexpected it adds to the grief. I know for sure that I would have d the opportunity to let him know how highly regarded he was. I will always be sorry that I didn't do that as much as I should have.

I plan to dedicate the project he was working on in his memory. I hope that small gesture will be a fitting tribute to a good and decent man.

Please extend my sympathy to your wonderful family.

In Sympathy,

Gary Smith

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Reynolds,

We are both very sorry about the unexpected loss of your daughter. I know what a terrible shock it must be. We still can't believe it ourselves.

Your daughter was such a great girl and a daughter to us. She was one of the sweetest and kindest girls and we thought the world of her.

As you know, we lost our son unexpectedly several years ago, so we know full-well the heartbreak that you are feeling. The pain does ease with time but the memory of him is still so very much alive and I think that is what has helped us the most.

If you feel you need someone to talk to, please know that we are both here for you. We would be very happy to help in whatever little way we can.

Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your lovely family.

In Friendship & Sorrow,

Gretchen Spring

Sympathy Messages in Emails About Unexpected Death

Emails are a quick and efficient way to send a message of sympathy. Here are some examples of emails to send on an unexpected death …

Subject: In Sympathy

I was so shocked to hear of your unexpected loss. I am so very sorry. I am still trying to accept it. He/She will be missed greatly by all of us who knew him/her. You have my sincere sympathy. -Ron

Subject: With Deep Sympathy

I just heard the tragic news and want to say how deeply sorry I am. It was so unexpected, which makes it even harder on those of us who share your grief. I hope that the outpouring of sympathy you are receiving is some consolation at this very sad time. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. -Betty

Subject: Your Tragic Loss

What a tragic and unexpected loss. I am still in disbelief. I don't think the reality has hit me just yet. I lost my brother the same way and I know how difficult that was for our family. I know that you have your wonderful family to help you get through this. I will be in touch to see if there is anything I can do.

Words of Sympathy Text Messages About Unexpected Death

Text messages are a fast and easy way to deliver your message of sympathy on an unexpected death. Here are some sample texts that could be used at this sad time …

Very sorry for your tragic loss. I am still in shock. Stay strong. I will stop by later.

I am saddened by your unexpected loss. It is so tragic. You have my deepest sympathy.

I just heard the sad news of your unexpected loss. What a terrible tragedy. My deepest sympathy.

Sympathy Words of Faith About Unexpected Death

Words of faith are very comforting at a time of loss. These words of faith can be incorporated into your message of sympathy on an unexpected death …


I was shocked and saddened by your unexpected loss. You have my deepest sympathy at this very sad time.

It is times this that put our faith to the test. I feel that is why we have to use our faith to see us through the grief and despair that comes with tragedy.

I think your wife would want us to keep her memory alive in expressing our faith. All our prayers should remind us of the loving and compassionate person that she was.

The Bible says “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” I pray that God will bless you and give you the strength to get through this very difficult time.

My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

In Faith & Sympathy,

Roger Borden


I am so very sorry for the unexpected loss of your brother. What a terrible shock.

I know that your deep faith will help you cope at this very sad and difficult time. I know that my faith will help me cope with the loss as well.

Your brother was a wonderful man. I feel so privileged to have known him.

I will be praying for you and your family.

God Bless You,

Nancy White

Mr. & Mrs. Kane

Please accept our deepest sympathy on the unexpected loss of your son. It is a very tragic event and I want you to know that I share your grief.

Your son was a fine young man and I was always very happy for the positive influence he had on my boy. I always held your son up as an example to my son as to the character and attitude he should emulate.

I know that it is difficult to understand tragedies this, but we can call on our faith to help us deal with them. I take solace in the words of the Bible that tell us that those who mourn will be blessed.

My prayers will be for you and your family to see this through and keep strong. I know that God will shed his choicest blessings on you all.

God Bless You.

In Faith & Sympathy,

Bob Simms

Sympathy Verses About Unexpected Death

Sympathy verses are a great way to add a nice touch to a message of sympathy. These sample verses can be used in expressing your thoughts on an unexpected death …

Death is a sad and tragic affairEven when it is long anticipatedBut no death is as hard on the living

As the unexpected death of a loved one

Death does not always come with warningWith time to say the sad farewellsSometimes it comes, unannounced

With no time for even a brief goodbye

There are the saddest of timesWhen death takes one so dear to usWithout any warning, unexpected

And in our grief, we bid our sad farewell

Sympathy Sayings About Unexpected Death

Here are some sayings that can be included in a message of sympathy to someone on unexpected death …

“Death is sad enough when anticipated, but even worse when unexpected.”

“The hardest part of an unexpected death is not having the opportunity to say goodbye.”

“An unexpected death makes the passing of a loved one even more unbearable.”

“All the planning in the world cannot prepare those left behind at an unexpected death.”

Sympathy Poems About Unexpected Death

A poem can be included with your message of sympathy to enhance the delivery of your message. These poems may be useful when sending your sympathy to someone on an unexpected death …


By Emily Bronte

Death! That struck when I was most confidingOn my certain faith of joy to be-Strike again. Time's weathered branch diving

From the fresh root of Eternity!

Leaves, upon Time's branch, were growing brightly,Full of sap and full of silver dew;Birds beneath its shelter gathered nightly;

Daily round its flowers the wild bees flew.

Sorrow passed, and plucked the golden blossom;Guilt stripped off the foliage in its pride;But, within its parent's kindly bosom,
Flowed for ever Life's restoring-tide.

Little mourned I for the parted gladness,For the vacant nest and silent song-Hope was there and laughed me sadness;

Whispering, “Winter will not linger long!”

And behold! With tenfold increase blessing,Sprang adorned the beauty-burdened spray;Wind and rain and fervent heat, caressing,

Lavished glory on that second May!

High it rose- no winged grief could sweep it,Sin was scared to distance with its shine;Love, and its own life, had power to keep it

From all wrong- from every blight but thine!

Cruel Death! The young leaves drop and languish;Evening's gentle air may still restore-No! the morning sunshine mocks my anguish-

Time, for me, must never blossom more!

Strike it down, that other boughs may flourishWhere that perished sapling used to be;Thus at least, its mouldering corpse will nourish

That from which it sprang- Eternity.

On Hearing of A Death

By Rainer Maria Rilke

We lack all knowledge of this parting. Deathdoes not deal with us. We have no reasonto show death admiration, love or hate;

his mask of feigned tragic lament gives us

a false impression. The world's stage is stillfilled with roles which we play. While we worrythat our performances may not please,

death also performs, although to no applause

But as you left us, there broke upon this stagea glimpse of reality, shown through the slightopening through which you disappeared: green,
evergreen, bathed in sunlight, actual woods.

We keep on playing, still anxious, our difficult rolesdeclaiming, accompanied by matching gesturesas required. But your presence so suddenly

removed from our midst and from our play, at times

overcomes us a sense of that otherreality; yours, that we are so overwhelmedand play our actual lives instead of the performance,

forgetting altogether the applause.

Sympathy Quotes About Unexpected Death

Quotations add an extra touch to your sincere message of sympathy. Here are some quotes that you might want to use in a sympathy message on an unexpected death …

“Death is as casual- and often as unexpected- as birth. It is as difficult to define grief as joy. Each is finite. Each will fade.” -Jim Bishop

“Which death is preferable to every other? The unexpected.” -Julius Caesar

Sympathy Words About Unexpected Death for Wreaths

Adding a few words to a wreath to mark unexpected death is a nice way to express your heartfelt sympathy …

“Farewell, Rest In Peace”

Sympathy Words to Write in a Flower Delivery Card for Unexpected Death

Adding a few words to a flower delivery card adds a personal touch to your gesture of sympathy. Here are some words that can be used for this purpose on an unexpected death …

“With deepest sympathy on your unexpected loss.”

“I share your grief on your unexpected loss.”

“Deeply saddened by your unexpected loss.”

“With heartfelt sympathy on your unexpected loss.”

Phrases To Avoid

Knowing the right thing to say at the time of passing of a friend is important, and so is knowing what not to say at this sorrowful time. Here are some phrases to avoid …

“I wonder how long he/she would have lived if he/she took better care of themselves.”

“I think he/she was on borrowed time.”

“I didn't think he/she was long for this world.”

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Prayer About an Unexpected Death

There are situations when the earthly forces, friends andrelatives can not help, and the person himself understands that he is powerless in this or that situation. For example, an incurable disease, an irresistible grief from the loss of loved ones, discord in the family and disobedient children.

At such moments of life, a person remains either alone with him or with faith and begins to ask the Lord and other saints to help and support him. In order for your requests and prayers to be heard quickly, you need to address them to one or another saint.

In this article, you will find out that the people give the prayer to the icon “Unexpected Joy”, to whom it helps and why it is called.

History of the creation of the icon

In the 18th century the work of Demetrius of Rostov “Fleece”irrigated “gave the plot for the creation of the icon.It tells about a criminal who had a habit of going to church to pray to the Mother of God before every evil deed.

Once in the process of reading the prayer for thisthe young man appeared to the Mother of God with the Infant, whose whole body was in bleeding wounds. On the young man's question about the child, the Virgin Mary answered that these ulcers appear on the body of Jesus from every evil deed committed by sinners on Earth.

After getting drunk, the perpetrator repented and begged for forgiveness, but Jesus forgave him only the third time, then he touched his lips to each wound on the body of the Child, and he and the Mother of God melted in the air. From that moment the criminal repented, completely changed his way of life, sending it to the righteous channel.

When prayer was read to them, unintentional joy visited him along with the liberation from sins. Thanks to this event the icon also received such a name.

And to this day the prayer before the icon “Unexpectedjoy “awakens in people morality, decency, tolerance to oneself and others, and makes you rethink your life, behave yourself righteously, and if you pray for close people and relatives, you can help them find relief, save them from grief and distress, if any in their life.

What is depicted on the icon?

The appearance of the icon completely coincides with the plotnarrative. It depicts a praying sinner, kneeling before the Virgin Mary, and the Infant Jesus in rags instead of clothes and with bleeding wounds.

The sinner is located in the lower left corner, and under the icon are written the first lines from the story of Dimitry of Rostov or sometimes the prayer “Unexpected Joy”.

Some icons depict a sinner with a ribbon in his mouth, on which are seen the words of forgiveness, addressed to the Mother of God.

How does prayer help before the icon “Unexpected joy”

The Virgin, having heard the people addressed to herprayer, protects those who ask for help, from tears, tears, sadness and sorrow. Prayer of the Blessed Virgin “Unexpected joy” protects people from all sorts of diseases associated with hearing, both literally and figuratively.

She hears the call of the soul and asks the Lord for the people, and they say that he answers prayers to the Theotokos and other saints. Many other things are helped by the prayer of the Mother of God “Unexpected Joy”.

Here is a short list of problems that she will certainly cope with:

• quarrels and separation of husband and wife;

• sadness from the loss of relatives;

• various hardships;

• saving your own reputation from slander and gossip;

• protection in all difficult situations.

The “Unexpected Joy” prayer will help to protecttraveling by sea and land from the dangers that may occur in their path, and also to facilitate their prompt return home safe and sound.

In what cases does the icon help?

Prayer Icon “Unexpected Joy” helpseveryone gets what he longed for, but he was secretly afraid that he would never get it. For example, a priest may want sinners to repent and thereby save their souls, kneeling before the icon will find forgiveness and forgiveness of sins.

Parents finally manage to find a common language and to reason with their rebellious rebellious children, to guide them on the right path.

Prayer “Unexpected joy” helps to find lost native people, to reconcile warring, to prompt a good light decision even in the darkest intricate situations.

Unexpected joyful news

Prayer before the icon gives people the most desirable andat the same time an unexpected, sudden joy. There are reports that during the Great Patriotic War, women, being in the rear, and day and night did not depart from the icon, praying for their husbands and sons, who were at war or were missing.

Some, especially desperate, continued to pray for the health of their loved ones even after they heard of their death – “funeral.” And they begged their unintentional joy from the sky: the information about the tragic death turned out to be erroneous, and the soldier returned home alive.

Many believers know that the prayer of the Mother of God “Unexpected Joy” helps everyone, fulfills almost any desire, especially those in which people are already desperate to believe.

The icon will help to find female happiness

Many women or couples togetherthey turn to the icon when they have problems with conceiving a child. Prayer to the Blessed Virgin “Unexpected Joy” helps to feel the happiness of motherhood and fatherhood by all who are passionate about it.

There are many cases when couples trying in vain to get a child for a long time, turned to the icon and, miraculously, they sought their own.

Everyone knows that maintaining a fire in the family hearth is hard work, and also that the life of the modern cell of society is a powder keg.

But wise women who want to preserve the sacredmarriage, instead of discussing problems with friends, they resort to the miraculous power of the icon. Any quarrels, resentments are forgotten between spouses, and in the family full harmony and mutual understanding, harmony and peace reigns.

Summing up ..

After reading all of the above, someone decides thathe found the ideal key to solving all problems, but one must understand that it can not be so easy. With no effort, it is impossible to achieve any success that you need to fight, not just sit back and pray. Faith in the Lord God helps you to gain faith in your own strength.

Prayer clears the mind and directs a person to perform noble deeds. Perseverance and commitment, reinforced by a strong prayer and faith – that's the ideal union that guarantees success in any life situations. The icon “Unexpected joy” will present to all who ask and need happiness the grace and resolution of all the difficulties and obstacles in their life.

Turning their souls to faith and the Holy Virgin, everyone will find his innocent joy.

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