A Difficult Day Ahead

Today I say my final goodbye to Dave Coleman, a close friend for over thirty years. I wrote about him and our work together in a previous blog when he passed away. His family has asked me to facilitate the celebration of his life at a memorial service today, and I have no idea how I’m going to get through it.

Death is only painful on this side of the door. On the other side, Dave has already discovered what it means to be face-to-face with Jesus, and he is enjoying the reality of what we can only glimpse from the shadowlands here that we live in. On this side, those who knew him will miss him deeply, his smile, wisdom, and tenderness. I already do. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this service.

In preparing my remarks, I remembered the last email I got from Dave. It showed up late this fall quite unexpectedly one morning and it was simply a prayer—a profound one at that! He had been walking with me through a harrowing situation that involved some people I love deeply.

Here’s what he wrote:

 May the Father, who is rich in mercy, speak kindly to your heart and comfort you with the thought that the only way out of this is to lay it at the foot of the cross…. with the prayer, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Do not allow your accusers to stifle in any way your message of God’s love. Just allow this experience to increase your urgency and your compassion and above all to deepen your dependency on His grace.

Dave had known many similar experiences in his own life. The path he commends here is one he has walked many times. Forgive from the depth of your heart, but also don’t let your accusers prevail. Get to the cross and the power Jesus demonstrated there. Forgive like he forgave and then let the pain and loss only invite you deeper into grace and to the great need for more of it in the world.

Amen, Dave. Amen 

6 thoughts on “A Difficult Day Ahead”

  1. Dear God,
    Please wrap Wayne in your tender, caring and loving arms. May your peace be in him and surround him. Please grant Wayne, Dave’s family and everyone who knew him the grace and peace they need to make it through this grieving process.

  2. Pat Robinson Trapp

    Thinking of you this day as you say goodbye to Dave. At times there simply is little that can be said in response to such a heartfelt message, today is one of those days.
    Much love to you.

  3. Thanks, everyone, for your comments here, on Facebook, and the texts and messages I received. I appreciate your concern. This was a grand day celebrating Dave’s life. I’m never afraid of tears when it only puts a finger on the depth of love I share with someone. I will miss him and look forward to the day we can sit and talk knowing all that he knows now.

    He was a simple man that had a profound impact in ways that we cannot measure. For those who aspire to do “something great for God”, the greatest thing is to live well, forgive freely, love deeply, and touch those God has already put around you.

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