A Temporary Inconvenience
August 13, 2019
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:10-11, ESV).
There was an open mike and I was compelled by His Spirit to speak. “As a rule, I don’t attend the funerals of my patients, and I have never spoken at one. But I have been so blessed to walk with Mark and his family through their struggle. I hope that all of you have watched them. This is the way that followers of Christ do this.”
Mark died after a three-year struggle. The way he and his family followed Christ down that road was a beautiful model for the rest of us to follow.
- They focused on Christ. Mark knew to Whom he was going, and his family lived with the confidence of that truth
- His wife and two daughters were the perfect caregivers, always there, always caring, with tears and laughter, hard work, desperate prayers and wonderful times of reflective love.
- They traveled their hard and painful road “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10, NIV 1984). Deep love bound them together, and the thought of separation tore like a tiger clawing their hearts; yet, they were constantly rejoicing because they knew the separation was temporary and that life ahead was even more glorious than when Mark was whole.
- They focused outward rather than inward. Mark consistently downplayed his pain and his need, so his visitors might not feel inconvenienced by his struggle. His wife Lesa, even in the midst of her great trial, focused outside her grief and wrapped her love around a young girl suffering from cancer, even to the point of planning a birthday party for the girl she hardly knew.
- They continually used their trial as a visual and vocal witness to Jesus Christ. Jesus’ name was consistently on their lips with love. “Great is Thy Faithfulness” music filled the hospital room during Mark’s last days of suffering. Mark completed his memoir, published just after his death—a beautifully written story of his last three years entitled A Temporary Inconvenience. This was not a book of regret or complaint but of “sorrow, while rejoicing,” pointing to his eternal hope in Christ, even as his body was more weakened each day.
All of us will come to Mark’s time, the time just before Jesus sweeps us up into His arms of glory. I pray I will remember the way he and his family traveled the road, watching for Jesus. It was unusually beautiful. It was Christian.
Let me live the last as faithful as the first.