The Pastor's Lament
I stood before an open grave
My Bible clasped tight in my hand
And listened to the anguished cries
That issued from the little band
Of relatives and friends who'd come
To bid a last, a sad farewell,
To one who's slipped beyond our grasp
To spend eternity in Hell.
His sinner friends were standing round
Refusing even now to go.
As though they sensed the tragedy
Like a mighty, staggering blow.
The good-byes they uttered were final
No hope was written in their eyes
For even they must have realized
There is no hope for the sinner who dies.
Then, from their midst a woman came
And through her anguished sobs I heard,
"Oh, God, just give him one more chance
To heed your precious, Holy Word.
I knew he wasn't saved, dear Lord,
And that his life was filled with sin
I thought that I could help him, Lord,
That's why I married him."
The anguished cries subsided now
All eyes were turned on me
As the woman rose and grabbed my sleeve
And began to plead with me.
"Do something, Preacher, can't you please?
You know my family well
They warned me not to marry him.
Oh, tell me that he's not in Hell."
In vain I searched for words to say;
My soul within me cried;
Why hadn't she felt this same concern
Before her husband died?
There were no words to comfort her
No hope for him was there now
As lost as the rich man who'd called Lazarus
To cool his fevered brow.
I took her hand and turned her round
To face the others standing near
And told her she must witness now
To these whom her husband held dear.
For how well she knew the bitter price
In agony, grief, and woe
For those who have gone to a Christless grave
And we who have let them go.