2 Corinthians 4.16
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.
One day I’m going to write a book about all the hilarious, remarkable, frightening, and life-giving things that have taken place during my ministry. Being a pastor is, in my opinion, one of the greatest vocations because it is a privileged responsibility. Pastors are invited in the depth of brokenness, the height of celebration, and everything in between. Some of the stories I have accrued over the last two years who never be appropriate from the pulpit, but one day I’ll get the good ones written down.
Dick Dickerson was a source of great moments. When I received a phone call about his passing away on Saturday, I gave God thanks for putting him in my life and helping me to discover what grace really looks like. But his death did not fully hit me until I announced it from the pulpit yesterday morning and I realized that I would no longer get to see his smiling face, hear his endearing laugh, or listen to one of his great stories.
For instance: When he served during World War 2 as a Quarter-Master he would lie to his superiors when requesting certain supplies saying they were for General Patton just so he could get the equipment necessary to support his troops. Or the story about how he not so subtly attempted to make conservatives out of his friends by offering them whisky only so long as they declared allegiance to the Republican Party. His life was one great story worth telling over and over.
A few weeks ago we were sitting in his apartment talking about the end. Death was not far away and Dick’s bone cancer was getting worse and worse everyday. Yet, he was completely prepared for it. He kept saying, “I’m ready for the Lord to take me.” While the pain was striking deep in his bones he kept such tremendous faith because he knew the Lord was with him and waiting to take him home.
When we lose the people we love, we are caught in a dilemma. On some level we are thankful that they are finally at peace and have gone to be with God, but at the same time we mourn losing them in our lives. Yet Dick was a witness to the kind of faith we are called to have: His outer nature was wasting away, but his faith was growing each and every day. The last thing Dick ever said to me was this: “I never knew God could love me this much.”
This week, let us reflect on what it means to keep the faith. Not a blind faith without doubt, but a willingness to see how our inner nature is being renewed even while our outer nature wastes away. Let us give thanks to God for all who have gone on before us, and pray that the Lord would give us the strength to be better witnesses for those who will come after us.