I know today is a confusing and difficult day for you. Today we said goodbye to your Daddy, celebrating his life as a community. This has been hard for all of us. We loved your Daddy so much. And I know you did too.
I know for months you prayed that God would heal your Daddy. We all asked God for this too. We watched his sickness worsen and just this week his body failed. For reasons we do not know, your Daddy passed on from this world into the next, and that saddens us all. We don’t understand why this happened the way it did. What I know your Daddy would tell you if he was here is that even though God did not heal his body, God comforted him in his pain and has loved him and your family in so many ways through all of this. God’s love remains and will never leave you.
This morning at the grave-site was the last time I asked God to heal your Daddy. Just as I prayed that God would raise your Daddy to life, I suddenly realized that maybe your Daddy was praying the same prayer for us. As he rejoiced in God’s presence, I wondered if his one wish for us was that we too would be “raised to life”.
You may wonder, “how can we be raised to life when we are still living?” Your Daddy was a man who lived life to the fullest. He died at age 40 but he lived with more passion, courage, and faith than many people experience who live much longer lives. He set an example for all of us, showing us that trusting God is a marvelous adventure. I am reminded that all of us die and what matters most is not how or when we die but instead how we live in the time we all have here. Driven by God and his values, your Daddy inspired all of us. We too are “raised to life” when we live out the timeless values that fueled your Daddy’s life. It is my hope that remembering these values will inspire you to live more fully the lives you were created to live.
I urge you to remember the qualities that you loved about your Daddy. I remember him as courageous, faithful, humble, disciplined, loyal, loving, generous, encouraging, healthy, joyful, and compassionate. In a very real sense, when we live out your Daddy’s values, it is like he continues to live among us. This is one way you can keep him alive in your hearts.
The Bible says that “Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). Your Daddy’s life brightly reflected all of these essential values.
Your Daddy was a man of bold faith, trust, and conviction. He knew who God was and who he was in God’s eyes. For these reasons, he lived a courageous life, following God wherever he was meant to go. That’s one reason your family experienced so many adventures, because your Daddy trusted God wholeheartedly. In this life, all of us are tempted to stay comfortable and seek personal pleasure above God’s will. Your Daddy found his pleasure in God’s purpose.
As you live your lives, may you discover God’s glorious purpose for creating you. Each of you have unique gifts, personalities, and purposes. Your Daddy faithfully followed the path God had for him. You too will come alive when you find what you were created to do and do it wholeheartedly, like your Daddy did.
Out of your Daddy’s faith, came a steadfast hope. He had hope for himself and hope for others. It seems so often he believed in others more than we believed in ourselves. Your Daddy did great things for God in this life because he trusted and hoped that something beautiful was to come. Whether serving in Haiti, training for challenging events, maintaining his health, or doing “devotions”, your Daddy continued to hope for something better to come.
Your Daddy’s greatest hope was in God’s presence. Sweet girls, God is always with you. Even though the events of this week may feel hopeless, God is not done with the story. May the memories of your Daddy remain with you and guide you as you watch how God gloriously unfolds the rest of your years on earth. Despite the pain in the present, there is great hope for the future.
Your Daddy’s was a passionate lover of both God and people.
One reason why losing your Daddy hurts so badly is because he loved you so deeply. As we remember your time with your Daddy and look at the pictures of him with you, it is obvious that he adored you and your mother.
He also loved God and others. When I think about your Daddy, I’m inspired to serve selflessly, to pray passionately, to lead with love, and to persevere through pain. His example showed us all how to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).
I know I am not your Daddy. Still, I commit to being one of many godly men in your life who will love you, encourage you, cheer for you, carry you, play with you, read to you, and tell you great stories about the Mighty Man who loved you so dearly. As we remember your Daddy together, his love will live on in us.
The Future Finish
As time passes, all of us will continue to remember your Daddy. It is normal to cry and mourn and there is no time in the future when you will be expected to stop missing him. I hope that in those moments of sadness you will reach out to those who love you and find comfort for your hurting hearts.
All of us, including your Daddy, wait in anticipation for the day when you will finish your race of life and your Daddy will be waiting to embrace you, his dear daughters, as you cross the line into his arms.
Until that day, I look forward to seeing all that God does in and through you. As these lyrics say, we will all “watch and see and we will be amazed” what God does with your lives as you run forward trusting in Him, just like your Daddy did.
“The Glorious Unfolding”
*Watch the video through to see the special message at the end
Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold
And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding
God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun
We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning
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