This is not a blog meant to be about me, or my family. It contains a lot of personal stories, but my prayer is that by the end of each post you feel that it’s about all of us and God and His everyday grace. I’ve written a lot lately about my brother’s fight with cancer in the hopes that some will gain encouragement or insight from our experience. I won’t write much more about this, but thought I’d share with you what I said at David’s memorial service. We are so grateful for the love, support, and prayers from family and friends.
Until I was 11 years old and David was 9, Cris 7, we lived in a house on Highland in Glen Ellyn. I had my own room, but David and Cris shared a room next to mine. Every night we would all be put to bed at the same time and after the lights were out, I’d hear the voices of my brothers coming from David and Cris’ room.
David would say: Hey Cris?
Cris would respond: Yeah?
David would say: Just wanted to know if you were awake.
Then silence for a minute and Cris would say: Hey David?
David would reply: Yeah?
Cris would say: Just wanted to know if you were awake.
This would go back and forth until one of them was too tired and fell asleep.
Today, in one sense David has been the one to fall asleep, but in another he is more awake and alive than he has ever been.
And this is what he wanted us to know.
The chapter of his life with cancer was filled with pain and prayer and hope and questions, but mostly, the refrain, “God is the Author of my story and He is good. I trust Him no matter what.”
As wonderful as my brother was, he was far from perfect (after all, I told you before that he pulled out my Mousey Moo’s tail when I was 8, and for that I think he should have to pay), but he was forgiven for that and everything else, and lived a vibrant life seeking to honor God.
He would want me to tell you, that if you don’t know it yet, this same Life can be yours if you just turn to Jesus and say “I’m sorry for the many ways I’ve messed up. Please forgive me and be the Author of my story. I just want to be a supporting character and let you be the Writer.”
You may think, “Why would I want an Author who let such a great supporting character like David die?” and I’m with you.
During David’s last week, when he was often in pain and delirious, at one point he was flailing and trying to get me to do something I couldn’t understand. I kept repeating “It’s ok David, it’s ok David.” and finally he yelled at me in frustration “It’s NOT OK!”
It was the only time I heard this, but I agreed. Nothing about this death FEELS ok.
We live in a world that seems terrible with the consequences of sin and evil.
But we (and David) trust that God has overcome the world.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
And in the end He will make all things new.
John, wrote God’s Revelation of the future in chapter 21: I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new.
Until then…right now, David IS better than OK because he’s healed and whole, probably fly-fishing with Jesus, the lover of His soul.
And tonight, if my brother Cris were to say, “Hey David?” He doesn’t need to say “Just wanted to know if you’re awake.”
Because we’re sure he is.
The day before David’s memorial service, I went for a walk by our house on Highland. I stood on the sidewalk we roller skated and sledded down a thousand times. The hill seemed so much bigger in my memory.
I lingered for a long time in front of the house, thinking about David being awake with Jesus.
I was reminiscing, praying, talking to DavId – telling him how much I missed him and telling God I wasn’t very happy with Him.
There had been a song that had been in the back of my mind since David died, but I couldn’t remember the lyrics. As I stood there praying I felt this strong prompting to find it. I searched the I-tunes on my phone and listened. I felt the powerful presence of God and my brother in those moments. I thought you’d want to hear it.
It reminded me that David isn’t sleeping and dreaming about heaven, because he is truly there and truly awake.
Here’s a link to the song, Deep Enough To Dream, by Chris Rice.