You are the one who has done this!
(Letters of John Newton)
Your beloved pastor has died — but he has only gone a little before you. We expect and hope to follow him soon. It will be a joyful meeting, when we shall part no more.
Come, my dear madam, I think you have wept enough! I now write and entreat you to wipe away your tears. You have had a great wound, and you cannot but feel it; but it was not the wound of an enemy! I hope you are now aiming to say, "May the will of the Lord be done." This afflictive dispensation did not spring out of the ground, nor happen by chance. It was the appointment of Him whose wisdom and love are infinite! He could easily have prevented it, and undoubtedly would — if it was not His purpose to overrule your pastor's death eventually for good.
We need to acquiesce to God's will, and to adopt the psalmist's words, "I was silent; I would not open my mouth — for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9
What must the first disciples have felt — when their Master was not only taken from them — but crucified before their eyes! Yet He had said to them a little before, "I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go — I will send Him to you." John 16:7. Surely that Comforter, whose influence was more than a compensation for the lack of the Savior's visible presence — can fully repair our losses and heal our wounds. And He is as near to His people now, and as willing and able to help them — as He was then!
The fountain from which your dear pastor obtained the water of life, which he communicated to his congregation — is still full and still flowing; and you are still welcome to come to Him and drink! But we are prone to lean too hard upon the ministers, by whom the Lord conveys His blessings to us — as if they were necessary. Perhaps to cure us of this mistake, is one reason why He often unexpectedly takes them from us!