May 17, 2007

He Ran With Endurance the Race Set Before Him

Just a few minutes ago I received sad news that an old Army buddy of mine had passed away. It wasn't a surprise as Frank had been diagnosed with a "worst case scenario" brain tumor over two years ago. According to the statistics, he should have been dead over a year ago.

There are many reasons to protest this common intrusion into life. I met Frank in the Army while serving at Ft. Campbell Kentucky. We were both medics with an airborne infantry unit and both just teenagers looking for a cheap education when we finished our duty. Frank was your typical, product of the 60's teen who looked to drugs to find his recreation or escape or both. But then there was a radical change in the young man over whom I had immediate oversight--a quirk of Army promotion.

He had changed over night--literally--and the change was due to meeting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Long story short--Frank opened my eyes to Christ and we were both sent on a path of life long change.

Frank became a physical therapist and then received his Ph.D. in some hard to pronounce aspect of physiology excelling in whatever he did. He was an avid runner until the cancer side tracked his ability to keep running but in the race of faith, he never faltered. He was always involved in his church, in his university where he taught, and in his church's plant of a new church, yet while loving his wife and kids and family. He ran the race with endurance, crossing the finish line in fine shape. Not many do that today. Now he can take a breather.

Still my heart aches for his wife and his children and his family, more than usual maybe because, as we say, he died prematurely--He was only 53.

Words like "premature" though have no place in God's dictionary; such words imply random, uncontrolled, unplanned, unanticipated elements in our lives; but such is reality only to us, not to God. Meaning what? Simply that God is God and He knows what He's about even when we don't.

And so we grieve as Paul writes, "but not as those without hope." And grieve we will--yet we know in whom we have believed and at the he is able to keep that which we've committed unto Him against that day. Until we meet again my friend…


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