Robert Haddon Deaville funeral
Robert Haddon Deaville
13th March 2007
Aged 102 years
We are not only here to remember with thanksgiving the life of Robert Haddon Deaville but we gather to seek God who is able to comfort and minister to us all, as we mourn the passing of a loved one
We extend our sincerest sympathies to you Joyce, John and Ruth and your families and friends
So let us now turn to God in prayer-
When you have lived to the grand age of 102 , there must be so many memories and experiences to share regarding Mr Deavilles life- He himself had a tremendous memory and enjoyed telling and retelling many of his stories
So it falls on Hannah, one of Haddon’s granddaughter’s now to come and share a tribute with us all-
We turn now to our second hymn, a song which was a personal favourite of Mr Deavilles -
Face to face with Christ my Saviour,
Face to face, what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ, who died for me?
The sentiments of this hymn was not merely a hope to Haddon but a sure expectation that he was going to be one day with Jesus , his Lord & Saviour
As many of us know , Haddon’s eyesight had deteriorated in his latter years
It meant he could not read for himself his favourite book which of course was the Bible
Right to the end of his final days with us he wanted the Bible to be read to him, something which the family did each evening
Richard, Haddons son-in-law is coming now to read to us
Hymn- When I survey the wondrous cross
Over the past 7 years since coming to live in Derbyshire, it was always a delight to visit York Cottage.
Always cosy with the coal fire smouldering away, Haddon sitting in the centre of the living room in his chair, a credit to John in his care of Father
During the days when he enjoyed better health, Haddon would spend many hours on his own
He was always aware of everything going on around him and knew instinctively when John was due home from work
But the thing that struck me most forcibly was Mr Deavilles contentment
The truth was, he may have been on his own but he was never alone
The Lord was with him , Haddon knew it and so did anyone who visited
And as I sought God on what passage to speak from-Ps 23 stood out
Why- because it sums up Haddon Deaville and the secret of his contentment -
He could say-The Lord Jesus Christ is my shepherd
Good Chief Great Only Gentle
Unlike Haddon, so many have the good shepherd the wrong way round
They talk as if the Lord is their possession
But the sheep do not own the Shepherd, it is the Shepherd who owns the sheep
Illust- many people today treat the Lord as a convenience or dare I say an inconvenience
This saddened Mr Deaville, he often spoke how at one time the most of the village went to Chapel – people were God-fearing then but not anymore
He witnessed the decline in numbers until eventually the little chapel in Shottle closed
But it was there that his Aunt Dorothy would bring him to Sunday School, it was there that Haddon realized that the Good Shepherd was looking for him
At the age of 8, he realized that Jesus had died for his sins and that Jesus rose again to give him forgiveness and a new life
Like a wayward sheep, he knew he was lost but Jesus has gone to great lengths to buy him back
94 years ago a young Haddon Deaville committed his life to Christ trusting in Jesus alone to save him
He was no longer his own, he now belonged to Jesus
The Good Shepherd had chosen him, paid the price with his own blood and was now known by name to Him
This was no passing phase of childhood but Haddon Deaville proved the faithfulness of His Lord for 94 yrs
He could say –“The Lord is my shepherd ,I shall not want”
He could look back all those years and say that he was completely satisfied with the Good Shepherds management of his life
And if he were here today he would ask with the deepest concern –What about you?
Good works cannot get you to heaven, only Jesus can
In fact, when talking with Richard about his funeral, he stressed that this should be made clear to all present.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me lie down in green pastures
It’s not only a picture of contentment, but of peace and security
And that’s how the Lord wants us to be
Illust-the great hymn writer Fanny Crosby was blinded when she just a baby 6 weeks old
But when she was 8 yrs old , the same age as Haddon when he was converted, she wrote-
“O what a happy soul am I, although I cannot see
I am resolved that in this world contented I will be”
Often, I came away from York Cottage, rebuked…. Not by anything Haddon had said, but convicted by the Lord
Despite his circumstances, Haddon was always positive, enjoyed a chuckle, interested in other’s welfare and selfless to the end
What a challenge, when so often we can be dissatisfied, critical of life and generally ungrateful
Ps 92:14 says that “the righteous shall still bear fruit in old age, they shall be fresh and flourishing”
Why- “to declare that the Lord is upright”
Haddon often declared the word of the Lord
Ted and Roy , who were a real support to John, and often sat with Haddon would testify to this
The word of God was not only a part of his routine but part of him
Illust- As Haddon’s hearing weakened he struggled to pick up my accent- can’t blame him for that!!
John would have to interpret for me
But the amazing thing was , whenever I opened the Bible to read to him, he never missed a word
Even on the Sunday night in hospital, before the Lord called him home, as we read together Is 49v 15-16
You could see his countenance raise and his face light up
We might be tempted to say –What a Godly man!
But Haddon would say – NO- What a Saviour!
-v3 “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness,” –WHY- “for His Name sake”
Haddon always gave the glory to the Lord
V4 has word for each of us who are left behind
That is where Haddon Deaville is right now
“Dwelling in the house (the home) of the Lord”
Not just temporarily but forever
But as v4 reminds us- “Yea, the valley of the shadow of death” is something we all must face at some time in our lives
As a family you are travelling this valley right now
There will be times when you feel the dark gloom of the valley as the sun is eclipsed
There will be times when you feel the cold numbness of the valley as you feel the loss of Father and Grandfather
But the word of God assures us that death is but a shadow
The shadow of death cannot harm the Christian anymore than the shadow of a truck can harm us
Yes, we feel its affects but as all shadows do…..they will pass
“Fear no evil”- the same Lord Jesus that has welcomed Haddon home is the same Lord Jesus who is leading you home
In the midst of the “valley of the shadow” keep your focus on Jesus
Illust- Haddon shared many stories,one of which concerned a hunt – young yews in lamb- on the day of the hunt, Haddon entered the field and as sheep do they followed him to the bottom of the field- They were so focused on the shepherd and so assured in his presence that they never noticed the horses and hounds in the background
“Fear no evil, for You(Good Shepherd) are with me, Your rod and Your staff they (will)comfort me”
The sure promise of the word of God is this- that everyone who belongs to the Good Shepherd will one day dwell in His house forever.
So as this service draws to a close , let us bow before God
let’s pause not only to give thanks for a life lived for Jesus but to reflect on the challenge this life leaves
When Mark was sitting with Grandad some weeks back , he quoted two lines of a poem or hymn-
It went something like this-'Brother, sister, parent, friend, when shall I meet you?
I'll meet you beside the eastern gate.
Shall I meet you there?'
This of course was a reference to his home in heaven
He was quite certain he would be there but the challenge to us all is this - will I be there to meet him?
Can I say with confidence, that the Lord is my shepherd
Lord, we thank you that you are a very present help in time of need, for some we need comfort, for some the need is greater because they know they are still out in the cold, outside of the fold and the family of the Good Shepherd
But we thank you that you are only a prayer away and you receive all who call upon your name in repentance and faith
Continue with us we pray , in Jesus Name we ask, Amen
Hymn-Thine be the glory- grace of the Lord Jesus Christ….