Yesterday, I attended the memorial service of a friend and former running partner. Together with another friend, we had prepared for and run the Lost Dutchman Marathon years ago. Our long runs had provided ample time to talk and share, and Keith had become like a brother to me, especially after the passing of my older sister.
His parents not only attended his service, but they participated in it. A child’s funeral — no matter how old the child — is never easy for a parent. They’re supposed to outlive their kids. Keith’s parents’ involvement said a lot to me. It told me that although they were hurting, they wanted to share about the blessing their son had been to their lives. They weren’t just feeling sorry for themselves.
A friend pulled me aside after the memorial service to tell me how she had dreaded attending my younger sister’s memorial service after my family had already lost my older sister five years earlier. But then she told me it had turned out to be the most inspirational service she’d ever been to. The church was packed with standing room only to celebrate a life of 34 years. Part of the service included playing a recording of my sister Gayle speaking to her church congregation. Maybe you’ll be inspired, too:
“Sometimes we need to look at our disappointments as a way for God to use us to minister to others."
“Disappointment comes to all of us. I’ve looked through the Scriptures, and I’ve tried to find verses that say our lives are going to be easy and that bad things aren’t going to happen to us. But I haven’t found any of those verses. Instead, the Bible says things like in John 16:33, ‘Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.’”
When Gayle learned her cancer had spread to her lungs, she said, “Talk about disappointing. That was very disappointing. But I had to decide how I was going to deal with that. God’s Word says in 1 Peter 1:6-7, ‘So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.’"
Gayle continued, “I choose to accept whatever God brings my way, knowing that God is in control of it all. I’m going to quit feeling sorry for myself and choose to follow him. I’m going to continue to hope in him. I’m going to consider it pure joy and allow him to work through me.
“Sometimes we need to look at our disappointments as a way for God to use us to minister to others. … He’s using disappointments in all of us so that we can minister to others. We need to get off our pity party and get busy for God.”
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Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"