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Isobel Kuhn - Funeral Service - March 22, 1957

[Note: This is the text of of one of the funeral service for Isobel Selina Miller Kuhn. Punctuation and spelling has been maintained as far as possible as they were in the original letter. Comments in brackets [] are by the archivist. The letter is in Collection 435, Box 1, Folder 2. ]

March 22, 1957
Wheaton, Illinois [USA]

Family Present
Mr. John Kuhn, Daniel Kuhn, Mrs. David Harrison, Mrs. David Harrison, Mr, Carl Harrison, Miss Ruth Achey

Organ Prelude

Prayer - Rev. Kenneth Churchill

Congregational Hymn No. 274
“The Sands of Time”

Scripture - Dr. Carl Armerding

Congregational Hymn No. 14
“My Jesus I Love Thee”

Obituary and Prayer - Mr. McCartney

Solo - Mrs. W. Crapuchettes

Message - Dr. Carl Armerding

Congregational Hymn No. 22
“Fight the Good Fight”

Prayer - Rev. Kenneth Churchill
Gracious God, our loving Father, we bow in Thy presence at the beginning of this service with thanksgiving upon our hearts, For, Lord, Thou hast revealed Thyself to us, Thy love, Thy grace, Thy provision for our every need in Jesus Christ, our Lords We thank Thee, our Father, that Thy Word is true and every promise in it has with it the backing of the faithful and eternal God. Our Father, we pray that this eternal, unchanging Word shall be our comfort today, shall be our rejoicing and our hope, and that Thou wilt meet with us, and, as we open our hearts, bless each one of us according to our particular needs. Our Father, we thank Thee for the victory of this hour, for the triumph that is ours in Jesus Christ, and for this, Thy servant, who has gone into Thy presence to be ever with the Lord. So, bless, we pray, We commit ourselves to Thee for this hour, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The congregation sand the hymn, ‘The Sands of Time are Sinking,” which was a favorite hymn of Mrs. Kuhn,

Scripture Reading - Dr. Carl Armerding
At this time, we would like to read a few Scriptures that were very dear to the heart of our sister, Scriptures on which she frequently spoke and from which she taught.

The three passages read by Dr, Armerding were Luke 7:19-23; John 11:18-25; and 2 Peter 1:1-11

The congregation sang the hymn, ‘Mv Jesus, I Love Thee.”

Obituary - Mr. McCartney
Isobel S. Kuhn was born is Toronto, Canada, December 17, 1901. She grew to maturity in Vancouver where she was graduated from the University of British Columbia. After a period of agnosticism in the university, she came to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ in 1921. Normal training and a period of school teaching followed, Through the faithful Testimony of a mother in the Lord and a missionary on furlough, she was brought to see the claims of the Lord upon her life. Dedicated to His will, she entered the Moody Bible Institute to study with a view towards foreign missionary service. After serving as superintendent of Christian Business Girls’ Club in Vancouver, she sailed for China in 1928.

Her call to work among the tribal peoples of Southwest China was clear, and, although her early years in China were spent among the Chinese, the day came when she, together with her husband, were able to gain her goal. Years of happy service for the establishing of Lisu Christian believers followed. Mrs. Kuhn was never happier than when she was engaged in unfolding the treasures of the Word of God to the poor of this earth. She found a fertile field for her gifts among the tribes. She never tired of laboring among earth’s remote people when that labor was one of unveiling the treasures of life and glory and grace in our Lord Jesus. And in turn the tribal peoples loved her and followed the Truth which she both loved and lived, She was known all over Lisuland as BIG SISTER!

With the Curtain of Communism drawn over China, she again went forth to earth’s benighted; this time to the tribes of North Thailand, Her term there was cut short by the appearance of an illness which necessitated her early return to the homeland and continued until she was summoned to be with Christ on March 20, 1957. This last period of service on the field, though short, was marked by the initial entrance of the Gospel to a number of Thailand Tribes, Her account of this advance into the enemy’s domain is vividly told in her most recent book, “Ascent to the Tribes.” Her one consuming passion was that benighted tribal souls should hear the saving work of Christ and LIVE! No cost was too great if men were won for Christ in the remote hills of Thailand!

Mrs. Kuhn is survived by one brother, Murray P. Miller, of Vancouver, B.C. Also by her husband John B, Kuhn; one daughter, Kathryn Rulison, serving the Lord in Thailand; and one son, Daniel K. Kuhn.

Her lifelong verse of Scripture was:
‘...I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”
[Philippians 4:11]

Prayer by Mr. McCartney:
Our gracious God and our Father, we draw nigh into Thy holy presence this afternoon in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who site at Thy right hand, the One who is in Thy presence, there to appear for us, We thank and we praise Thee today, our Father, for the Lord Jesus, for the One who came out from Thee not to do His own will but the will of Him who sent Him. And, our Father, we thank Thee that in this world He glorified Thee. In this world, our Gracious God, He walked in and out among mankind, ever ready to meet every form of human need. And then to go to the cross and upon the cross to die in our room and in our stead. We thank Thee today that we can take up the language of one of old and say: “He loved me and gave Himself for me,” Our Father, we bless Thee and we praise Thee today for the Saviour which we have found in our blessed Lord Jesus Christ and for the hope that is within our hearts, that when this little span of life is over we shall be forever like Him for we shall see Him as He is. We thank Thee for that glorious day when they shall come from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south and shall sit down in Thy presence. Not one shall be missing, not one seat will be vacant. Then, our Father, we shall be able to sing: “He and I in that bright glory, one deep joy shall share. Mine to be forever with Him and His that I am there.”

Father, we thank Thee and we praise Thee for the hope that Thou hast put within our hearts. We thank Thee for our dear sister whom Thou hast taken to Thyself. We thank Thee for her life of service for Thee down here, We praise Thee for every remembrance of her, and we bless and praise Thee that although she is dead today she still speaks and will speak for many, many years to come, and the life that she has lived will indeed be a glory to our blessed Lord Jesus Christ and a blessing still to many. Our Father, we know that this is a day of victory for her. She is absent from the body, she is present with the Lord, She is at Home.

We would ask Thee today for those who have been bereaved, Our Father, some of us have passed this way, some of us have felt what it means to be bereaved of loved ones, of those who are near and dear, We would pray Thee today for her dear husband, Wilt Thou, Lord, bless him; wilt Thou take him in thine own arms and comfort him with the comfort of the Holy Spirit, We pray, Father, for the dear daughter, Kathryn, away in Thailand. We ask Thee that Thou wilt bless her, May she, Lord, at this very moment know the comfort of the Holy Spirit and feel Thine everlasting arms thrown around her, And the son, we ask Thee for him that Thou wilt bless him and grant, our gracious God, that he might, indeed, know the comfort of the Holy Spirit even in the loss of his dear mother.

All of us, our Father, in this congregation are grieving because of the death of our dear sister, We pray Thee, Lord, that Thou wilt bless each one and grant that this coming together at this time to pay our respects to our dear sister, might be to the glory of God, We pray for each one of us, our Father, that we might realize as we have never done before, the shortness of time, that we might realize that tomorrow we might be in eternity. Help us then, our Father, to live to His honor and His glory every moment of the day, that we may seek to please Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Bless this service today and bless the one who shall speak. Grant, our Father, if there should be some here who know not our dear Saviour, that ere they leave this place today they will close in with the offer of mercy and rejoice in the knowledge of sins forgiven. We ask these things, giving Thee thanks for our Lord Jesus Christ, in His precious name. Amen.

Solo by Mrs. Crapuchettes
From the glory and the gladness, from His secret place;
From the rapture of His presence, from His radiant face;
Christ, the Son of God, hath sent me through the midnight lands;
Mine the mighty ordination of the pierced hands.

Chorus: Mine the message grand and glorious
Strange, unsealed surprise;
That the goal is God’s Beloved,
Christ in Paradise,
Glory to His name!
Glory to His name!
Yes, the goal is God’s Beloved,
Christ in Paradises

Hear me, weary men and women, sinners dead in sin;
I am come from heaven to tell you of the love within;
Not alone of God’s great pathway leading up to heaven;
Not alone how you may enter stainless and forgiven.

But I tell you I have seen Him, God’s beloved Son,
From His lips have learnt the mystery, He and His are one.
There, as knit into the body every joint and limb,
We, His ransomed, His beloved, we are one with Him.

Keswick Hymn Book
No. 542.

Message by Dr. Armerding
There is just one verse on which I would like to offer a few thoughts, It is found in Psalm 116:15 - “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

If that statement by itself appeared in a newspaper over the list of those who have passed away, it might look very strange indeed to the ordinary reader, I dare say that there are not many who look over the list of those who have passed away with any greater regularity than I do, There isn’t a day which goes by when the newspaper comes that I do not look through that list to see if there might be some name which is familiar to me, But I can understand how those of the world who know not our Lord Jesus Christ would never bother to look upon that page of the newspaper. In the first place, they would say to themselves: “Why should I sadden my heart with that?” And as I say, if you were to put over the top of it, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” they would say: “What is precious about death? Death comes in and breaks up a home, What is precious about that? Death comes in and disturbs a life and interrupts a service, What is precious about that?” And those would be real questions, wouldn’t they?

But we say to ourselves that we are given a standard of measurement in this verse
which is this, it is in the eyes of the Lord. Precious in the sight of the Lord. It is by the divine standard we measure this this afternoon, and therefore we come to different conclusions than those of the world, They do not understand this, In the first place, they have no idea of the preciousness of the soul that has now gone to be with the Lord. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, said: “What should a man give in exchange for his soul? What shall it profit a man if he gain the world and lose his own soul?” From this we gather that there is an intrinsic value about the soul which makes it precious, That, of course, is true of every one of us, We have something within us that is more precious than the whole world combined, Yes, its precious.

And, then, as that something within us develops it seems to take on added preciousness, just as a child grows up in a family and it becomes more dear as the years go by. We associate with that person now some wonderful deeds of love and kindness, and there is that added preciousness, We say to ourselves: “The acquired preciousness is almost as great as the intrinsic preciousness.”

But then there is something else here, and that is, I believe, limited by what we have in the last part of the verse. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” I know how we hesitate to use that word “saint” of anyone who is still alive because we have been living in an atmosphere where saints are considered people who have been gone for at least some time, And there is at least one branch of the professing church which has limited that to people who have been dead a time. But as one reads the Word of God, he discovers that there were saints living on the earth and who had letters addressed to them, and as we look into these letters we discover that they were just sinners saved by grace, set apart to the Lord Himself. Here is where we can include our sister in this limited circle, so to speak, as we look at our text again and we say: ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of’ His saints,”

In becoming a saint, there is another idea of preciousness which now enters into the picture, for things are not only precious to us because of their own intrinsic value, but they become precious to us because of their association. Take, for instance, that little lock of hair that some of you mothers have been treasuring for a long time. It may be that the one who wore that little lock of hair is now in the presence of the Lord, but if someone were to come in some night and disturb your belongings, that little lock of hair would just be a lock of hair. But to you it is precious. Why? Because of its association.

Let us carry this a little further. What makes the death of God’s saints so precious to Him? Is it merely that they have a soul that is more valuable than the world itself? Well, that enters into it. But hat really makes this soul precious is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed it with His precious blood. Friends, you can understand now why it says in the Book, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints.

What was done in the life of our sister when she trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour was just a promise of what was to come, what she is enjoying this afternoon, and has waited for all these years. From that epistle from which we read this afternoon and from which she loved to teach, we get these words. Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, he says: “Whom having not seen, ye love. In whom though now ye see Him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” From the very moment that she trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour, not only was there a guarantee that one day she was going, to see the face of her Redeemer, but she could enjoy it by anticipation.

But that was her side, The other side of it was this, of course, beloved, And that is that our blessed Lord is waiting for that moment when He, too, shall gather to Himself everyone for whom He died upon the cross, when He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, We are -precious to Him this afternoon, We are precious to Him not only because He brought us into being, but we are precious to Him because He redeemed us at infinite cost.

And so, as we think of our dear sister this afternoon, I would like for us just to get it into our minds that this is no tragedy. This is a victory. This is a triumph! If we could share this afternoon the joy that is hers, we would be so utterly oblivious of each other’s company that we would not know where we were, Such is her joy, I know,

It has been my privilege to sit by the bedside of a good many just before they entered into His presence, and, oh, how one has seen the very brightness of Glory lighting up their faces as they were about to pass into His presence, Just this morning, in a class, if you will allow me to be very informal here this afternoon, one of the students raised her hand and said: “Just what happens when a Christian dies?” She didn’t know that my own thoughts were running along this line because of what I had before me this afternoon. It wasn’t in connection with this funeral that she asked the question, “What happens to a Christian when he dies?” “Well,” I said, “I can just answer you in the words of God, ‘Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” “Yes, but how long does it take?” And then I couldn’t help but think of an answer given to me one day by one who is present here this afternoon, when we were talking about this very thing, He answered me in the words of the Psalmist: “We are soon cut off and we fly away,” So instantaneous is the passage into the presence of the Lord! Wonderful!

As I was looking at this word, “precious,” just a little bit more, I want to take a minute or two to share with you some thoughts that I believe will make it even more precious to you. I was looking at this word in the original; and I discovered that it is translated in various ways in the Old Testament, In one passage, this came Hebrew word is rendered by the English word “brightness,” Lets put that into this verse and see how it sounds, “Bright in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” Just to think of it — nothing gloomy about this, “Bright in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,”

Then I looked at another place where it is found in the Old Testament in the Hebrew, There I discovered it was translated by the word “clear,” and I put that word in the text, “Clear in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” There is nothing misty here! There is nothing doubtful here! It is ac clear as day

And then I looked a little further and discovered that it was also translated by the word “excellent,” and I put that word in the text, “Excellent in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” Yes, there is something excellent about the death of a Christian, isn’t there? There is something excellent about it not only in the difference between the attitude of the one who is dying and that of another who does not know the Saviour. In that respect alone, dear friends, this is more excellent than the death of a nonChristian and unbeliever, But it is excellent because of the triumphal entry that it means into the presence of the Lord Jesus,

And I must not miss this opportunity to direct one personal word to anyone present this afternoon who may not know our sister’s Saviour, as our Brother McCartney uttered his prayer. If you don’t know her Saviour, I do trust, dear friends, as we have speaking about the preciousness of this death, that you, too may have found your own heart longing that we might be able to say the same of you in case this comes to you, That is why, dear friends, I consider it an honor this afternoon to be chosen to speak a few words on this occasion because not only do I know myself this afternoon to be a member with her of the great body of Christ, but within that body of Christ a member of another circle known as the’ China Inland Mission, and we have a fellow feeling for those in that same family which just simply doubles the preciousness, the preciousness of our membership in the body of Christ.

And so with this dual bond this afternoon, it gives me joy to testify to what is true of her and to ask you that you will make it your own as she did through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, for His Word says: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,”

Now in this spirit of victory and triumph, let us sing again - No, 228: “Fight the Good Fight,” which will give us a summing up of the life of our sister and her missionary work about which you heard in the obituary.

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Last Revised: 9/22/07
Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2007