with

Mike Bellah

D'lynne's Funeral: The Scripture Reading

On September 21, 2003 DíLynne Bellah Stone died at her home in Chandler, Arizona after a short illness. She was 52. My sister passed quietly surrounded by her husband, her children, her mother and father, some close friends and me. Later I plan to write more about how her death has affected me. For now, here are the words I spoke at her funeral. 

DíLynne was not only my sister; she was my friend. We didnít start out that way. As preadolescents we fought a lot, mostly because I was jealous of her natural beauty, talent and easily won popularity. Yet in our teens, we both moved close to Jesus and that moved us close to one another. As an adult, she was as good a friend as one could hope for. But I donít need to tell you that. 

You who knew her well know that DíLynneís love was unconditional, her commitment to keep personal trust was sacred, her joy (her zest for living) was contagious, her loyalty was stubborn and tenacious, her faith in God was genuine and honest; and her battles against all that hurt people (things physical, emotional, or spiritual) were relentless. As we saw in her last battle with the disease that she believed was preventing her opportunities to minister to a needy world, she was a fighter; she was a warrior.

Psalm 91 has been one of Tom and DíLynneís favorites during the past eight months. [Quoted here from the New American Standard Version]

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress,
My God in whom I trust!
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper,
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side.
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes,
And see the recompense of the wicked.
For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
Lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and cobra.
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high because he has known My name.
He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him, and honor him.
With a long life I will satisfy him,
And let him behold My salvation.

My sisterís life was not long on years; it was long on living.

I believe that today, and I also believe something else. It occurred to me this morning as I looked over this passage that DíLynne slipped from this life early on a Sunday morning, the same day of the week, the same early morning hours, when nearly two thousand years ago angels rolled away the stone from the tomb, which had held the lifeless body of Jesus of Nazareth. But it wasnít lifeless anymore.

DíLynne may have lost a skirmish, but she has won the battle. As the Apostle Paul said while contemplating the resurrection of Jesus, ďO death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?Ē (I Corinthians 15:55).

Our warrior has won her battle because her Warrior won His.

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