Today our friend and former church member Dick McConnell passed away. Dick and Debbie and their family attend the church we pastored in Lakewood for a number of years. Dick was active in Promise Keepers during most active years of that ministry and was always supportive to me as a pastoral leader. I always knew Dick as an active healthy, weight-lifting businessman. During my legislative years they lived in my House District, so I would stop by and see them when I was campaigning in their neighborhood. Dick loved his family and set an example of faith and godliness.
Just before I was discharged from the hospital Debbie and I had an opportunity to visit by phone with Dick and Debbie and have prayer with them. It was then we learned that the year-long battle with cancer was requiring hospice care. I still remember both Dick and Debbie praying for us during that time when their own need was so intense.
To me Dick embodied the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Cor.4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
It was good to have visits today from Ron Graham and Steve Harris. Ron was up from Lakewood on a work assignment and had some time to come by for a visit. It was great to have him come to our Fort Collins home for the first time. Ron made several trips to see me and even spend the night with me when I was in the hospital; he has been a true friend and support for many years.
Pastor Steve Harris brought me lunch and helped me out with a few things around the house. I told him I thought his workman’s comp insurance would handle any accidents if he fell off a ladder installing light bulbs in the ceiling of my garage. He also helped me get my uncle’s power wheelchair cleaned up and in the house from the garage. He did a good job “test driving” the chair getting through doorways without the damage I have usually caused. (Picture above Pastor Steve and the “new” chair)
I have appreciated those who are keeping Debbie in their prayers. She is working on a three-quarter time schedule, which means more of 40+ hours of time that she puts into her week. Caregivers are often the forgotten family members when someone is recovering from an extended illness. I was pleased to visit with Pastor Jim Brummett and hear that some ladies in his church have made Debbie a special focus of their prayers.
As I reflected on this, I believe I began to have a little more understanding of Job’s wife and her “taunts” of “curse God and die”and are you “still holding on to your integrity.” Sometimes a loved one can feel that death is easier to handle than seeing a loved one in unending agony and viewing the uncertainties of the future.
Yet in the midst of it all God calls us to be faithful to Him and to trust Him for strength day by day. That applies to the one with the illness or disability or the one faithfully standing by his or her side. God sees the heartache of each individual whether directly involved in the crisis or not and is able to bring the comfort and strength that is needed for each person for each day.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…
Therefore,since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-4