Dead or Alive, Death and Life
Last year was filled with some of my best joys and worst sorrows. I got to celebrate the birth of my firstborn son, one of the most amazing things that could happen to anyone. And then a month later, April 1st, my grandfather passed away. It was a tough time, but the toughest was seeing my grandmother grieving. Having my new baby, the reminder of new life and of the hope of the life to come, was a huge factor in helping all of us cope. But that wasn't the toughest part of my year. My grandfather lived a good long life, saved many lives as a firefighter, had 4 wonderful children and many grandkids. He was a man dedicated to God with a faith in Jesus that was rock solid. His bodily death marked the end of the massive bodily suffering he experienced because of his heart, intestines, and lungs. Although it was sorrowful, it was also filled with joy. Hartwig Roy Harms, a man of God, although we say he died, he is alive, with more life than he's ever had.
What was worse, on May 10th, a year ago today, a great friend and coworker died suddenly from heart failure. He was only 34. I have a hard time even writing this without choking up. Spencer Michael Greenlee was also a man of God, one of the most charismatic and life-filled men I've ever known. He had and has an impact on anyone who met him even just once or knows anything about him. I was blessed to have known him the few short years I did and to work with him and his beautiful wife Ashby. My dear friend Ashby was also about 4 months pregnant at the time. For a while, I never really got to grieve, since for work all the questions were deflected to me and I had to talk about what happened so much with people associated with work I almost became numb like I was telling a fiction story. Yet I regularly think about him and the impact he had on others' lives for the sake of Jesus. Somehow he was a part of almost every one of my social networks, personal friends, Bible study group, work, and my family knew him well too. He and my husband got along great, but then again, he seemed to get along with almost everyone!
Almost every day I think about him and Ashby, and their beautiful baby Trooper. I can't help think about how much I miss him, and different things I do I feel the hole of what it would have been like had he been there. Death is difficult for those of us left behind. It leaves a hole and it seems terrible because it is. They say death is a natural thing, but it's really not, it's quite unnatural actually. It's not what God had intended for us. And thankfully Ashby has been such a testament to all that know her of the joy God can give through sorrow. Her grief has been great and intense, yet her faith in Jesus has become more solid than ever. Because of the faith Spencer had and the faith Ashby has, God is using this terrifying experience to bring about all sorts of amazing goodness. I am so thankful for Ashby, and for Spencer, and for what they've taught me about life and staying strong in my faith.
The God of Life
This is my God, who gives real hope of true life through Jesus Christ. Death is completely opposite of who He is and what He wants for us, and that's why he give us a way to have life while we live in these dying bodies and also, once this body is done, eternal life. He gives life and gives it to the full. And amidst all the death and junk that's in the world because of our rebellion against God, He still, out of love, offers life to each of us, and gives new life to teach us that there's always hope.
I miss my grandpa, and I miss Spencer. I haven't forgotten them, and I never will because the legacy they have left is that of love and a reminder to live life everyday to it's fullest. And I know, with confidence, that they are with God and one day we will be reunited. So I do not grieve as those who do not know the truth. Yes I grieve, because we miss them and we grieve not because they are worse off, but we feel we are worse off with their lights gone from our world. Yet we don't need to wait until death to be with God. Where is God? He is not far from any one of us, and wants to be a part of our lives today, to give us life to the full in the here and now that extends into eternity.
Spencer, Grandpa, there are many here that miss you and looking forward to the day we are together again.