This is what I taught.
"Ricky, the hole that Ryan's death must remain a hole in our lives. Nothing can fill it. Nothing should ever fill it in this life. There is no substitute for Ryan; not for you, for me, for his children or for anyone else that knew and loved him.The funeral for Ryan today was very difficult for me-with all the parallels to my own brother's death. And God granted His grace that I could teach clearly, and even sing clearly during Ryan's funeral.
"The hole in our lives can only be filled by what Christ has done for Ryan by giving him faith in Christ. Ryan will rise from the dead at the last day. And the hole in our lives won't be enough to fill what Christ has done with Ryan. Our cup will overflow. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now we know in part; then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known." I Cor. 13:12 (paraphrased).
"No one can replace him. And no one has to.
"Yes he had faults. He was a sinner, born in sin and committing sins against God and his neighbor in this life. And though we remember his best attributes at this time, the fact is that Christ brought him to be baptized. Christ brought him to worship to receive the Lord's Supper. Christ brought Ryan to repentance, confession, and the forgiveness of sins.
"Christ will fill that hole in our lives with Ryan himself, only Ryan will be remade perfect in the image of God. As will we all through faith in Christ alone. And we will be able at that time to love God and each other perfectly.
"So none of us should try to fill the hole left by a loved one's death. Let Christ fill that hole while we walk in this vale of tears. Let the certainty of the resurrection in Christ comfort us in the meanwhile. For God has revealed that Christ has lived and died for us and our loved ones who have gone before.
"Our desire and prayer now is that God grant us His Holy Spirit to keep us in this same faith in Jesus Christ, crucified for us, risen for us. So that when Christ comes again He will receive us in the heavenly mansions."
Please keep Ryan's family as well as Betty M.'s family in your prayers.