Friday, March 12, 2021

Christian Funeral for Betty Jean Struck (May 4, 1937 - March 7, 2021)




John 14:1-4; Revelation 21:3-4; Isaiah 41:8-10


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

About 8:00pm Sunday evening I received the phone call from Ann. She said, “My little sister has died.” Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened. Chuck and Betty were just in church Wednesday afternoon, and they looked great. Everyone was happy to see them. In the days following, I spoke with Ann a couple times and each time she referred to Betty as her little sister. Well, Betty was younger – one year younger, in fact. However, Ann explained to me that “little” was in reference to a number of things about Betty. Yes, she was younger than Ann and Eugene, but she was older than Clarence, and Larry. But Betty was little in size. I have observed that as being a bit of a Huck family trait. So, even among those who might be considered little, it seems Betty was littler still. Because of this, she received special care and protection, of a sort from her older, and bigger, brother and sister. There are even stories of Betty being carried at times, like a little lamb, particularly on the snowy day of her confirmation in March.

Betty may have been little, but she wasn’t small. No, Betty’s faith was large, even giant size. Betty’s heart was large too. Indeed, the word most used to describe Betty is not little, but spunky. She was kind and compassionate, open-hearted, lauded for her grace and virtue and for her hard work ethic, and she was forgiving – all the things that a child of God should be and more. She loved her gardens and gardening, both flowers and vegetables, even those stubborn carrots and eggplant, which she planted again each and every year though they caused her frustration – that was Betty too. However, a gopher in the garden brought out another side of Betty – fierceness and determination. Threatening both the foundation of the house and her beloved garden, Betty went after that gopher shovel in hand. The gopher escaped, but her prized hosta did not.

Chuck and Betty were a fixture in Friday morning Bible Study, and afterwards at Hy-Vee for kaffeeklatsch with their dear friends in Christ. In these days of pandemic, Chuck and Betty still attended that same Bible Study via Zoom video meeting while safe at home. Betty counted offerings for the church, was active in the Dorcas Society, and helped out at the Bartels worship services – yes, she went to church twice a week, Sundays and Thursdays! For Betty, faith wasn’t something that you were supposed to talk about, it was something you were supposed to do, and she did. Her home was as open as her heart as Chuck and Betty welcomed in foreign exchange students and folks visiting from out of town for the horse sale.

Betty loved the simple things of life – family, faith, home, garden, friends – and she didn’t take them for granted. She knew that they were all gifts from God and she was grateful. She grew up in Jefferson Township in rural Bremer County, the middle of five kids close in age – a home, a Christian home. A child of the Great Depression, things were not always easy. Those were times that forged character and faith. Like others of her generation, Betty was frugal, a realist, knowing how to be content with plenty or want. The promise of the LORD to Israel in captivity in Babylon rings true for Betty as well: “You are my servant, I have chosen you and I will not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Indeed, for the Christian, for the baptized, for those who put their fear, love, and trust in the Lord, for Betty, God is with them, even in times of trouble, trial, and tribulation – especially in times of trouble, trial, and tribulation. “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Not only has their Good Shepherd passed through the valley of the shadow of death before them, victorious over sin, death, and Satan, He accompanies them as they follow Him and make their way through the valley. For, Jesus has gone to His Father’s house, and there He has prepared a place for them, giving this promise, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Our God and our Good Shepherd Jesus have been with Betty all through her long life, unto and through death, and now Betty is with our God and our Good Shepherd Jesus living a life that cannot die. Yet, still we are waiting, hoping, expecting, and anticipating more still, the resurrection of our bodies and a blessed reunion with those we love who have died in the Lord. Then you will see Betty with your own flesh and blood eyes, hear her with your own flesh and blood ears, and hold her in your own flesh and blood arms, and no one will take your joy from you.

Chuck; Stephen, Carolee, Jeff, Charles; Ann, Clarence; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters in Christ; friends, let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Jesus. He is your Good Shepherd, your Redeemer, your Savior, and the true and life-giving way to God and His kingdom. He has called His little lamb Betty home to His heavenly pastures where His sheep may safely graze. There is no mourning, no crying, no pain, and no death, for the former things have passed away, but there is life and light and joy and peace in the presence of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Let not your hearts be troubled. You will see her again. Until then, remember and give thanks for Betty’s faith and life and love and imitate her. Look at the blessings the Lord has given you and know that He is with you, guiding you, protecting you, leading you home.

In the + Name of Jesus. Amen.

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