Today I had to do something I have had to do too many times in my teaching career - attend a funeral service for one of my former students. A precious twenty-two year old young man who has been valiantly battling leukemia for the last 15 months. This past Saturday the Lord delivered Nathan from his physical battle and healed him completely by bringing him Home. The church was filled with people coming to pay their respects to Nathan's family. The service began with a beautiful video of Nathan's life with his voice narrating. Nathan spoke to young people several times about his faith and about the urgency of a personal relationship with Jesus. One of the pastors even used one of his caring bridge journals in the service that Nathan wrote about spiritual urgency. You can read it here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/nathangeorge/journal/2
I was so moved by all his classmates and friends that showed up today. However all I could think about were his parents. His momma, daddy and older brother (who read his baby brother's eulogy with so much love and tenderness) are all educators in our parish. They are a sweet, sweet family and fiercely devoted to each other. The pastor spoke about the grief Nathan's parents are experiencing. He said, "It is not natural for parents to bury their children. When we lose our parents, we lose a piece of our past. But when we lose our children, we lose a piece of our future." How true. After listening to Nathan's video and how he didn't see his illness as a burden but as a way to glorify God and hearing how many lives he has touched for such a young life I just wanted to tell his parents how remarkable I think they are that our providential God who knew before Nathan was formed how his life would play out, would choose each one of them special to be that precious boy's momma and daddy. What a road ahead of them, yet they are strong in their faith. They know who to share their grief with to find comfort.
I was challenged today at that service as I hope many others were. Am I sharing my Jesus with others as much as I should? Nathan was bold in his efforts to share the gospel. I am in awe of what a testimony he left. For us left here his life seems too short. God knows what He is doing. We don't always understand it, but that is why He is God and we are not. Oh that our lives would exalt and magnify Christ as Nathan's did. Healed and in the presence of Jesus.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.