Over the past few months I have had the honor of praying Buddy. Buddy is the brother-in-law of my dear friend Lee. Buddy lost his battle with cancer yesterday. And though I never saw his face or shook his hand, I cried...a lot.
I began to wonder how I could feel such pain and loss for a man I'd never met. And as the day unfolded God began to show me what Buddy had done in me and how he had shown God's light into a world that could have stolen his hope and faith.
Through Lee's blog and a facebook page we were given updates on Buddy and all he was doing. Through his treatments (which he took only so he could fight for the ones who love him here) to his everyday life, Buddy's eyes stayed fixed on the cross. He believed God for a cure and knew that Jesus walked with him down cancer road.
After a few weeks of eating, working and living like in what can only be considered a gift of time and grace from God, Buddy's body could not go on. His final moments were spent with his son and wife.
Yesterday afternoon I was laying on my bed working on a Bible study when I felt the undeniable urge to pray for Buddy and his family. To ask God to bring him home and to hold his family's hearts as they say goodbye. Bring him home, Father. My heart cried out for this man's long journey and his family's loss.
The announcement came less than an hour later. Buddy had gone home. And as I cried over my keyboard I asked God why it was effecting me so.
Here's what I could come up with:
First, I've been praying for him. The privilege of speaking to God's heart about someone draws you closer to that person -- even if only in spirit.
Second, Buddy story of faith humbles me and spurs me to grow. Buddy is a faith hero in my little life. To know and love God so much that you can shine His light in the midst of your own dark days is astounding. Buddy's story of strength, love and humor (I remember a story of him wearing a horse hair wig & hat combo to chemo to give others laughs) spoke volumes to those who love God (at least to me), but can you imagine what it said to those who don't. Here's a man who loves this God so much that he can meet cancer head on and still praise Him. Can you imagine?
So today, as Buddy's family begins the leg of this journey of saying their earthly goodbyes, Buddy is in heaven...in that place Jesus prepared for him. He is whole, laughing and worshipping, but I know that he will hear those words..."well done, good and faithful servant" and perhaps Buddy will begin to see how much his journey toward death touched lives.
I want that. I want to be a person who shines so brightly for Jesus that is what people see and remember. Don't you? What opportunities has He laid before you today? In storms or sunny weather; in triumph or trial He has asked us to love so well that all the world knows we are His. Will you?