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Saying Goodbye

March 22, 2011

I had plans to do some other writing today, and to put up a completely different kind of post. Then I heard the news. News I knew I was probably coming sooner rather than later, yet hit me like a ton of bricks nonetheless.

A beloved pastor and friend, faithful and humble servant of the Lord, Pastor Dave met his Savior face-to-face this morning and is now walking pain-free along the streets of heaven. Our pain and loss is most definitely heaven’s gain.

Dave joined the staff of our church less than two years ago, yet God gave him, and his precious wife Cynthia, an immediate impact and ministry in the lives of so many people, myself included. Then, last summer, Dave began to experience severe back pain, and an array of doctors could not accurately diagnose the cause of his pain. About six months ago, after another scan, the diagnosis came down: cancer. The news was not good. Dave had a large tumor attached to his hip and it was already stage 4, i.e. extremely aggressive. Scans only a few months prior had picked up nothing.

In the face of this devastating news, Dave and Cynthia stood strong and full of grace, exhibiting so well the fruits of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Dave’s honest cries of anguish were always tempered with faith and trust in an all-knowing, all-powerful God. Through this heart-wrenching trial, Dave’s words were such an encouragement and testimony to all who knew him.

The treatments started soon after diagnosis. An anti-cancer diet. Chemotherapy. Radiation. Nutrition-based treatment at a specialty clinic. The cancer liked them all and continued to grow. We watched as Dave grew thinner and weaker. He longed for the glories of heaven. He was ready to meet his Creator even though we were not ready to let him go.

We prayed for healing. We prayed for an end to his pain. God granted our petitions today, if not in the way we would have preferred. Today Dave is free. Free from pain. Free from the shackles of this sinful world. Free to dance and celebrate.

Dave was our Associate Pastor of Shepherding and Family Care, involved in discipling, counseling, and visitation as he cared for the needs of our body. We thought God sent him to Faith Bible to minister to our needs, but I fully believe God sent Dave and Cynthia to us for us to minister to them for such a time as this.

Right now, and if you think of it in the weeks to come, please pray for Cynthia and their family. It seems unbelievable to picture her without him, but this is life’s new reality.

It is hard to rejoice through the tears, but rejoice we must, knowing our friend is in a better place. Through the natural process of grief, we celebrate a life.

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:54-57

Addendum: This post is still getting some hits so I wanted to add links to the picture slideshow shown at Dave’s memorial service on April 9th and the message he recorded for his church family shortly before his death, which was also shown at the memorial.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2011 10:14 pm

    i am so sorry to hear of your loss, sarah. i will be praying for you all, and especially his family.

  2. Laura permalink
    March 23, 2011 12:03 am

    What a beautiful picture of the two of them together! You can see the beauty of love and the pain and the faith so clearly. And what a tender, loving tribute. I’ll pray for you and your church.

  3. March 23, 2011 10:34 am

    Lovely post and tribute to your friend and shepherding pastor. I am so sorry for your loss.

  4. March 24, 2011 7:25 pm

    Thank you for the tribute to our dear friends. It IS difficult to imagine life without him. It is difficult to imagine Cynthia ministering without him. And I selfishly miss my friend, But God. In His infinite grace, mercy, and providence has chosen to release Dave from this world, its sin and its pain. Oh to run free in open and pure celebration of Christ. What a blessing. I could never wish Dave back from the presence of Christ, but he will be missed.

  5. Kim permalink
    March 27, 2011 9:21 pm

    Thanks Sarah for this great post! It was wonderful to read and so true their amazing testimony that the Lord gave them the strength for each day. Such dear friends. May God continue to be with Cynthia and allow her heart to heal. I know the Lord has so much more in store for her.

  6. March 29, 2011 9:04 pm

    I just read of Dave’s passing. I knew him in seminary. Your words reflect his kind soul beautifully. My prayers are with his beloved family during this time of deep sorrow. Yet praising God for Dave’s, faithful life well-lived for his Lord.

  7. April 4, 2011 12:38 am

    I know that I don’t know you Sarah, but wanted to thank you for posting this sweet story of what happened with Dave. I interacted with him quite a bit about 6 years ago when I worked at the seminary (while he worked at GCC). I always enjoyed interacting with him, he was such a gentle and humble man. I heard recently he passed from a friend and have been praying, wondering what exactly happened. Thank you again. Blessings to you all~

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