A Friend’s Goodbye

Today is a sad and tragic day. A husband—a father—a friend—created in the image and likeness of God—a man whose life had been transformed by the redeeming life of Jesus Christ is gone. Like the flame of a candle blown out by a gust of wind, his life was cut short in the catastrophe of a bad decision. But…the decisions at the end do not encompass the sum total of a man’s life—they cannot define a man’s life.

My memories include a man who though tough on the exterior was tender on the inside. He loved kids, and any man who loves kids is more like Jesus than you might think. He was a fixture around the AWANA’s program, impacting the lives of countless children with a soft voice, a gentle hug, and a firm resolve. A generation has been impacted because he was willing to be a friend to children.

He also loved the down and out, the ones most of us prefer to shy away from. He was soft-hearted, yet steady with them, because he had not forgotten (like most of us have) what down and out feels like. He was generous and benevolent, while at the same time encouraging and insistent that a person get up and get after it—sort of like Jesus I think.

Like most men, he was hard-headed. I guess that just comes with the damaged package of DNA we’ve all received from Papa Adam and Mama Eve. And yet, he would receive truth when confronted with it, and with the ingestion of truth would come change—gradual over time, but real change all the same.

I am reminded of a truth this morning as I reflect on the death of my friend. Another man, one who was also accustomed to pain, grief, and sorrow wrote these words: “For I am convinced that neither death, not life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39). I like that—nothing (not anything even a bad decision) can separate us from the love of God.

Hey Mac—I’ll see you again soon. Thanks for the impact you made on my life.