Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Grief and Rejoicing

Disclaimer: No knitting here today, just life. 

Today is a difficult day. Yesterday was difficult, and tomorrow will be difficult as well. My pastor, Tim, is actively dying. He is more than my pastor, he is a mentor, my boss, and I count him as my friend. I've watched his daughters grow from gangly pre-teens into lovely young women. Then I watched them marry and have babies, carrying on a legacy of love from their mom and dad. I've seen Tim and his wife Debby live out their love for each other in front of their family and our congregation, and they have been an example of love and service to so many. They have spent a lifetime (the past 27 years with this congregation) loving others with the love of  Christ, and living out the Bible, in real time.

In January, Tim was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. He was hospitalized for a few weeks, then went home to outpatient treatment...a grueling schedule of tests and treatments and traveling to and from appointments. As soon as he was able, he returned to the pulpit, and continued to give selflessly...until Monday.

On Monday, Tim went to the hospital. He was admitted, and it soon became apparent that this was it. His race was coming to an end. On Monday evening, the staff sent an email to the congregation. He has not shared much of his cancer journey with the church family, putting a positive and encouraging spin on everything that he did share, and many are reeling with the news. Now we wait for the moment that God takes Tim home to Heaven. It will not be long. 

I went to see him on Monday, and again yesterday. He was much more alert yesterday, and when I left, I looked into his eyes and said, “See you soon, Chief!” It sounded funny to my ears, but I believe it's true, that it will be as the blink of an eye for Tim. He’ll get there, and hear his “Well done!,” then he’ll turn around and we’ll all be there, too, praising our Savior together and forever!

My eyes hurt, and they are fuzzy from all the emotion that has spilled from them. My heart aches from the knowing it was coming, but still not being ready. My mind cries out against the emotions that don’t seem right, and I have to remind myself that there are no wrong emotions…to just let them come…and breathe. I feel actual pain in my body as the grief of this loss washes over me.

I know that this is just another part of life, seasons passing. I know that this road leads to Heaven, and an end to physical suffering, for Tim. I've said my good-byes, and I know that he heard me. I know that he’ll be standing, or kneeling or bowing or dancing, in front of our Lord soon, and I praise God for that! Cancer does not win…Tim does! He’s had his eyes on the prize, and he has run a good race, finishing well. But on the outside, I still cry.

If you're the praying kind, please add Tim and his family to your prayer list. Pray for them, send good thoughts, and then rejoice with me! Rejoice in a life well lived, a life that points generations to Jesus! Rejoice for the time we are given on this earth with our brothers and sisters, and for the promise of everlasting life through God's amazing gift of Jesus!

This life on earth is not forever. Thank you, Lord, for your promise of an eternal life with You. Thank you, Lord, for putting faith giants like Tim in my life. Thank you, Lord, for every good and perfect gift from your hand. Thank you, Lord, for my time with Tim. Thank you for the forever promise that I will see him again!

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!

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