A Young Marrieds Pastor and Friend
Our beloved Pastor Mike was our Young Marrieds pastor. He was so approachable and warm-hearted, and you could tell right away after meeting him that he truly cared about others. He especially longed for others to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. He was just so loving and kind, and full of grace and compassion for others. My husband and I loved going to our Young Marrieds group because we felt welcomed by him and his wife. They have two children, and their second-born is a boy who was born one week after our first-born son. The other child is a little girl, and she is so sweet and really took a liking to my son as well. During his time teaching at Young Marrieds, Pastor Mike thought he had developed a hernia and was putting off getting it checked out. Little did he know that in actuality, he had stomach cancer. Pastor Mike and his wife had gone on several short-term mission trips to Ireland and had a heart for the people there. They planned to become full-time missionaries there, but first Mike had to get a physical done. That's when they learned that he had cancer and began the long battle for his life.
He Fought a 2 and a Half Year Battle
Pastor Mike fought his battle with cancer for two and a half difficult years. He had surgeries and they poured hot chemo into his body. They tried immunotherapy in the end, but it was unsuccessful. Through it all, he never lost his faith in God or doubted that God could heal him. He always said he wanted to bring glory to God no matter what, whether through his life or his death.
Our Beloved Pastor is With Jesus Now
Now, as I sit here by our Christmas tree, with the gifts all wrapped up below, and my second-born son on the couch next to me because he's wide awake for some reason... So many emotions are flooding my mind. We got the news today that Pastor Mike passed away early this morning, at about 12 a.m. I just can't believe that he is really gone. While intellectually, I know he is in heaven with the Lord, it still feels surreal that he's really gone from this earth. I feel so devastated for his family, because he leaves behind a young, beautiful wife and two sweet and loving children. He also leaves behind a caring mom and a devoted sister and brother. Why did this loving pastor, who cared for and blessed so many, have to be taken home at the young age of 32, leaving behind so many to mourn? Why couldn't it be an evil man, instead of this godly, upright man? I know I shouldn't have those thoughts and should trust that the Lord has a plan even in spite of such a difficult tragedy. But I'm only human, and tonight instead of feeling Christmas cheer, I just feel sorrow.
I'm Thankful to Have Known Him
As I continue to reflect... as I sit here thinking of his poor family, who will be missing him terribly this Christmas, in only 4 days... and wondering why he couldn't have been allowed to at least make it through Christmas... I'm realizing that I'm thankful I was even given the privilege of knowing this great man. Just knowing what a loving and caring husband, father, and shepherd of God's people he was ... makes me want to be a better wife, mom, and encourager to the people around me... and a better witness for Jesus.
Yet I find myself already failing at this high calling... even this evening, still getting frustrated with my son as he squirmed around when I was trying to get him into his pajamas, or as he wiggled away from me while I tried to brush his teeth... or even as I got my feelings hurt when my husband refused to change the baby's diaper for me or said something that hurt my feelings. None of these things matter... they're all so temporal, compared to the fact that our wonderful friend and mentor, and preacher, is not here anymore on this earth... Yet we still must deal with these daily, mundane realities. I still have to get my son dressed for bed, brush his teeth, etc, and I still have to learn how to forgive my spouse for not being perfect, and remember all the things he does do right, like stopping on his way home for milk and bananas and distilled water for the humidifier since the boys are fighting off a cold... and he did all this even though it was pouring rain, because I asked him to.
In my rambling way, as it's almost midnight, I guess my point is that, the fact that the life of this beloved pastor and friend has been cut short... makes me want to be a better person, a better Christian, a better wife and mom and a better daughter, daughter-in-law, and friend. But even now as I type this, I've already messed up, even now I'm still a sinner, and tomorrow I will get frustrated again, and sin more, so I know I must continually repent and place myself once again at the foot of the cross. So while I feel guilty that I'm still here on this earth, knowing that I'm not the best I could be, I know that Mike would want me, and all who loved him, to keep turning back to the Lord, even in our weaknesses... I know he would want us to continue to live for Jesus, always... I just pray that his legacy will live on, and I know it will because he touched many lives for eternity, and because he inspired and continues to inspire so many to follow Jesus as closely as they can, including me.