A dear friend of ours, a homeschooling father of eight, was driving down an icy road in central Illinois. Lord, he prayed, show me the brevity of life. About that time he came to a crossroad. A big brown UPS truck was also approaching the intersection, so our friend put on his brakes. The van failed to stop on the slippery road and he slid across, narrowly avoiding a collision. “Whew!” he exclaimed. “That was a stupid prayer!”

The timing of the prayer may have been unusual, but the lesson was important: Life is short. Our friend, like all of us, did not know how long or short his life would be.

I heard this story at his funeral last week.

A brain aneurism had suddenly ended his life. In our human frailty, we wonder why the Lord would take this man. He had eight children, from twenty-five years old down to a four year old. He had a lovely, submissive wife who adored him. He was passionate about spreading the gospel, especially to his unsaved co-workers. He was even more passionate about raising his children to love and serve God. In a word, he was faithful.

And since he was so faithful, he has left a legacy for his children, a shining example of the nuts-and-bolts kind of Christianity that makes a difference in the world. Yes, they have to go on with life without him. They are devastated, especially his wife, but they have faith that God is with them, and that He will use even this for His glory.

And indeed, God has been glorified already. Eight people were saved at the funeral, including one of his sisters (he had no Christian relatives). Seventy of his co-workers attended the funeral and heard the gospel preached, perhaps for the first time. And even in their grief, his family is praising the Lord. As my friend (his oldest daughter) and I embraced and cried together, it was she who did the comforting. “God has been so good to us,” she whispered. “You can’t understand it until you’ve been where we are, but God is so faithful.”

That’s a powerful testimony. Our friend was faithful to God, and now everyone can see the result: God is faithful to his family. And they have the assurance that God was faithful to their husband and father, as well: that he is in heaven now with the Lord he loved above all things.

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matt. 25:23)

-by Jeannie Castleberry

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5 Comments

  1. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Wow, that was touching!

  2. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I lost a dear friend close to my age a couple years ago. I experienced sorrow, but was met unexpectedly with overpowering joy in celebrating her going to be with the Lord.
    God comforted me with a song by Mercy Me, “Homesick”, that renewed the idea that I am the one in transition, feeling the deep pangs of waiting to go home. Chorus: “I close my eyes and I see your face, if home’s where my heart is, then I’m out of place. Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow, cuz’ I’ve never been more homesick than now.” I praise God with you for the legacy and testimony of your friend’s Dad!
    ~Jenna

  3. Avatar Elizabeth J says:

    My husband lost his father (a wonderful, godly man) last March, and so I know in a small way the wonderful faithfulness of the Lord during such a time as this… the grief and the joy.

  4. I have no words. But I need to say something, because this story is worthy of something. Death always makes me feel small and tossed. I pray hard for the ones I love and ask that God not teach me that lesson – yet. Then I think of those involved and realize that I cannot possibly understand what they are undergoing. Nobody can but them, and God.

    Words are so inadequate.

  5. Avatar Owen Family says:

    Wow! thank you for sharing that Jeannie. What an encouraging testimony.

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