February 1, 2019
One thing for which my family is known is that we are very open and vulnerable about where we are. It’s the way we believe God wants us to live, and so we know no other. We share our joys, but we also share our griefs and darkness as well. I will be frank to tell you---these last cold January days have been so difficult. My heart has been broken, as the man who has been a big brother to me for close to 50 years suddenly left us for heaven. Charlie Young, once my pastor, once my superintendent, always my brother and one of my dearest friends, has been so close to all of us that the loss of his presence with us is incalculable. We all have been suffering and grieving deeply.
The thing that is comforting us most at this point in time is the “no regrets” element of our relationships. We are a close and devoted family, and there’s nothing to replace that when loss hits—as it inevitably does. My sister Brenda, Charlie’s wife, had a stellar relationship with him. They lived and walked in love, out-serving each other every day of their lives. Their three children and their spouses and their eight grandchildren shared love, laughter, and Jesus every time they met. Their weekly Sunday family dinners were legendary. They got together often and could hardly wait for the next extended family gathering when the whole Mason clan gathered. We are so committed in love to each other that every single niece and nephew flew in immediately when they got the news. During that stunning week, we were all together every single day.
When my nephew Jacob expressed the deepest emotions of the family with this profound thought, it reflected what I was feeling as well: “We are not grieving and wishing for do-overs. We don’t need a do-over. Everything was awesome! Everything was just as it should have been. We did it all, we said it all. We are just wishing for more and more of what we already had with him.”
This is the way we all need to live with our families and friends. We know we love them, but we put off what we should do. We allow small things to become issues, and we live as if we had all the time in the world. But God reminds us, "You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).
Life is short. Eternity is long. We all need to be reminded to live like it. We need to do and say the things today that tomorrow will find us wishing we had. Think about it. This tells us that what really matters is our relationships: with Jesus, family, friends, and partners in the ministry.
So today I am reminding myself once again of that. Time is precious. We are fragile. Life is short. Eternity is long. So here is my prayer for myself and everyone I love. “Teach us (me) to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Please pray for my sister Brenda and their three children and spouses, Rachel and Aron, Zack and Amanda, Jacob and Jessica, and also the soon to be nine grandchildren. Pray for the entire family as we adjust to our new normal. We are so grateful for your prayers and support.
Here is our certain hope:“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14,18