David, as you know, was my father-in-law. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2013, and after meeting with the doctors who guided him through that we also gathered around him at church with the shepherds to lay hands on him as we prayed for healing. Barbara could write a much better story about this then I could, but this is my blog. Barbara’s strength through this sickness is a testament to the power of God working through a devoted wife who deeply loved her husband. Her life-long work ethic since 2013 went into hyper drive, and she hit the nail on the head when she said we were given 6 more years with a man who knew how to love people.
It’s for that reason I remember him today on what would have been his 70th birthday.
If you look at David’s death through the lens of faith you see it ending in success. He will undoubtedly hear well done good and faithful servant. Paradoxically, however, some of us see it as failure because there is so much he will not be here for. I don’t understand how death leads to life except to point to Jesus. It wasn’t God’s original plan. There is also a randomness to life that we can’t explain, and I have no idea if David was a subject of Satan’s torment like Job. I do know Barbara never told David to curse God and die. They both held on to the Father to the very end, and a day will not go by when we do not remember the Jesus David modeled through his entire life.
We are going over to where David is buried today because we haven’t seen the tombstone over his grave. I cleared my schedule, Carey took off work, and our daughter turned in an advance absentee form for school. It still feels surreal as I type every word of this post. Every time I walk into Barbara’s house or pull her trash cans back down the driveway a rush of sadness washes over me knowing I’ll never see David again on this earth. I don’t want to be writing this very sentence the same way I didn’t want to be at Alive Hospice in early November.
I know some of this emotion is due to a chemical imbalance I battle everyday, but it’s also a deep love and admiration for a man who changed my life. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. David was that man for me. The least I can do is love his daughter and granddaughter with all my might and visit his grave on his birthday.
I have not cried more than I have cried since November 9th. There have been days when I’ve cried so chronically I “emptied” my tear ducts. I’ve cried myself to sleep. I’ve never done that. I’ve heard people talk about it, but now I’ve experienced it. I’ve always felt things deeply, and I can assume that might be because of clinical depression, but when you’ve been loved the way David loved me you don’t soon forget. I can say without a doubt he allowed the LORD Jesus Christ to do what he did. If I can love half that much I’ll be a success in loving others.
If I were to say one thing to David it would be thank you for showing me how to love others. He lived it, prayed it, preached it and left doing it. He was a beautiful man, and the visitation proved it.
Father, you know all too well what we are going through. You know time doesn’t heal all wounds, but you inform us daily through the Holy Spirit that this will one day pass. Our lives here are marked with brokenness. It’s all we’ve ever known. But somehow through this great cosmic paradox we know your presence is more powerful than death. Empower us all to lean into that Presence.
I feel so empty Father, but I know you’re there. You dry my tears, and I know David is not suffering anymore. We are Father, and so I ask you to make this pain bearable. Your healing presence is amazing precious Father, and when I think about you as Abba I know you are so much closer than the Being who put our planet in place.
We love you God, and though we struggle with putting our faith in other human beings we know you long for us to put our faith in you. Create and grow that faith within us. We are broken, marred by sin and empty in our depravity, but your Holy Spirit can overcome that degradation. Do it, and do it now.
In Jesus name amen.