"I find a strange inability to grasp the transitory nature of our present life
and the breath-taking magnificence of the life which is to come...
we are living this painful and difficult life against a background
of unimaginable splendor."
J. B. Phillips
He bounced into our lives, a Tigger with a G. I. haircut. An eager, fresh faced lad with an accent dripping Southern honey.
It began simply enough, a meal with a family from church, our family. It then became a once-a-week event which, quite frankly, we all enjoyed. There was always bright conversation about all manner of things, more often than not turning to things Spiritual before the evening was over.
Of this time, there is a faint memory of a rainbow image. Was it just the spirit of the lad or did he wear rainbow shoe laces? Odd how disconnected snippets of memory surface years later.
In time, a rather short time at that, there was the honorable request to correspond with The Daughter. That was followed by the expressed desire to seriously court Her. It is remembered how many an evening was spent in the parlor, these two, a Bible open between them, he stating this or that belief and conviction and than asking "What do you believe about this?" Or "Do you agree?"
A friendship became established and love took root. A summer wedding took place, a marriage of like-minds was established. Soon following, the announcement of a child of their love on the way. So the saga continued.
An honorable military discharge, a precious daughter born, college years begun, moves, another daughter. From this beginning ministries were begun. Later on one more baby, making three adorable daughters.
This is such a limited, pitiful fragment of a useful, abundant life. I'll not tell of the times of great hardship, times of personal loss, times of the rough and hurtful treatment that can only come from the thoughtless sheep in The Shepherd's fold. All were taken to heart, examined thoroughly, prayerfully and submitted to the Heavenly Father for His corrections and additions. Then there was a moving on.
Always in evidence was a sincere heart after God, a passion for His Word, a devotion to his calling, a cherishing of his wife and evident delight in his daughters.
There is much that could be stated, many stories told. Suffice to say that in his life he, by example taught how the Righteous are to live. And with his characteristic honor and integrity he also show us how the Righteous are to die.
The remarkable thing, following the doctor's pronouncement, there was never anything but acceptance of his situation and an eagerness to see his Lord face to face.
For myself, he entered my life, then my heart. My present world will never be the same since he was moved from it. Yet the World to come is ever more eagerly anticipated and precious.
He was a gift to us all. We remain blessed because of him.
So this day we remember, not so much for our loss but his gain and that, in time, it will be ours as well when we move from this Shadowland to shining splendor and Reality.