We’ve been losing David since 2013. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma that year, and to make a very long story short that was the beginning of the end for my precious friend. I remember leading a prayer in Knoxville with all of us breaking bread requesting that God take the cancer away and that the Vols would start winning. God said no on both counts, but he did give us 7 more years together, and we didn’t lose all our football games.
We’re losing a lot as we say goodbye to David, but then I know that these light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. I intellectually understand that, but I’m fighting it on an existential level as I hold every hour in my heart and mind. He will breath his last, we will gather at the funeral home, and his body will be buried. We’ll remember him for the rest of our lives, and if we watch a Cubs or Vols game again his memory will pass through our minds. We’ve cried rivers this week, and tomorrow those rivers will continue to flow, but joy will come, and we will celebrate the way he lived because his life represented Christ from beginning to end.
Death is a hard reality every single one of us faces. Without it we’ve never known what it’s absence looks or feels like. Even when we aren’t faced with death proper we are faced with daily loss that takes our own breath away as we long for the day death is no more. That day is not today, but it will come. The rest and joy that comes with that day cannot be fathomed because Adam and Eve made sure of that, but we still have the power of choice to incorporate a fraction of that rest and joy now.
Forgive those who have hurt you. This is impossible for both of us because our depravity is so rooted in our DNA that it literally is impossible apart from a close knit relationship with the Father. There are those who who choose not to follow Jesus Christ because He does not force any of us to follow Him. Know this, the only way to the Creator, our Father, is through Jesus Christ. He is greater than death, and He always will be. He brings comfort when comfort is not present. He brings peace when peace was not there. He brings love to the places of hate, and He brings hope when despair reigns. He is not wringing His hands in worry and fear that those He has called will not answer because He knows they will.
David answered that call many years ago. The love he is leaving behind is a testament to the power of a perfect Father who loves the entire world. We humans are mean to each other. We seek revenge when God has told us not to. We seek happiness directly from things that bring sadness, and we continually think we know better than God what someone else needs or wants. We don’t.
David knew how to be with people without demanding a damn thing. He didn’t feel the need to preach you a sermon because his life was a sermon of love. He showed me the power of looking at life from another human being’s perspective, and I’ll forever be thankful for that legacy.
He walked with me through rock bottom, and I know he was in prayer that God would protect our marriage, protect his granddaughter and provide graciously when we were empty.
I don’t know why God allows some people to live to be 100, and others to pass at the age David is, but I don’t have to know why because some people leave behind so much more love in fewer years than others. As we seek the will of God I will forever remember David’s search, and I will be jealous that his search is soon to be over because He will have unadulterated access to the Father. As I wrote yesterday I know nothing about the afterlife, but I’d like to think that not only will David not be in pain, but he will be in the presence of spiritual beings who attend us all. He could be one of those beings watching and guiding us. Your guess is as good as mine. I do know this. We most certainly have angels watching over us, and they marvel at the love we share as we say goodbye. That fills me with an overwhelming peace that no one can take away.
Father, there are so many things I’m ignorant of, but that doesn’t diminish the power of your presence. You’ve never been afraid of death, but you know what we are going through because your love for us is unimaginable. Thank you for loving us through David. Empower us to love each other with the love You have poured into our hearts. We seek You heavenly Father not for what we can get but for Who you are. Empower us to see You through the eyes of eternity and know that this goodbye is really not a goodbye even though it feels like it. Show us what to do. Show us what to think. Show us how to be with others the way David was with others even in his last moments on this earth. You know the faithfulness of Your servant David, and we thank you for inviting us into the incredible beauty faith brings when we choose to believe. We’ve made a mess of things, but You’ve shown us how to partner with You in healing the brokenness. Continue to do that for us. In Jesus name amen.