See you later, Brother Buck!

Today the folks who knew wore purple at my church. As I looked out across the auditorium from the platform it occurred to me that it didn’t seem strange or odd for us to do that. That’s who we are. Tears were welling up as I felt the love of my church for this man. We found out just about 5 weeks ago that one of our dear ministry leaders was diagnosed with an aggressive pancreatic cancer. The prognosis was that he had about 6 months to a year to live. Two days ago hospice was called in and had narrowed that time down to hours. The Lord says that death of his saints is precious. That might alarm and offend someone but think about it. Death means that his children are home. What loving parent doesn’t long for their child to come home?

The stories I am learning about Brother Buck still amaze me. He was an unassuming matter of fact man that cheered on the work of our church and the members who were saved or got back in their race. Few knew until the end how far this man had climbed in his field and how much he had accomplished outside of church. Much of his last conversations were about going on with the work and about the church he loved.

There was a strength and steadiness about him and a gentle quietness about his serving the Lord that was inspiring. That is why everyone rallied around this dear man wearing purple today to support him as his life hung in the balance. It’s what we do. Whether it’s by the bedside or roadside we love and serve each other. We have been taught well by people who have raced before us to be there when one has a need. We have been shown by example to love and serve. We have been taught to be thankful not for what we have but for the GOD who gave us everything.

He had just retired in January and was given a clean bill of health at that time. Just a few days after finding out he was going to go to heaven much sooner than anticipated. He spoke to the church only a few days after hearing the news. You can listen or watch here.

 Keep Reaching Forward (choose audio or video version) 

His message was much like his life. Straighforward, kind, strong and wise words flowed from him that day. He had very little strength to deliver them and you could tell he wanted to share this great and beautiful tragedy with us. He was ready to go home but for the sake of the Kingdom and much still to do in his family he was also willing to try to stay as long as he could. Treatments were started but his body was so compromised by the cancer and his life was diminishing daily. It became evident he would be going home very soon.

What a testimony and life he had. What a race he ran! What a place that will be empty for someone else to fill in the gap. His life makes me question my own brief time left and my purpose in the Kingdom. I want to serve with passion, character and great expectation! I humbly desire in a small way to honor the GOD who loves me beyond what I can ever comprehend. We weep temporally and rejoice eternally with Brother Buck. We are not saying good bye! We are saying see you later dear Godly man and friend to Harvest, Brother Buck.

(at 12:45 pm today Brother Buck exchanged one glory for another that we can only imagine. He is home with our Father and Lord.)

Who can find her? a tribute to women who have influenced me and goodbye to Melina

I have been more than blessed by some of the most godly women in my life. Women who stood in the gap and who loved anyway. One of those precious women went to be with the LORD today and it brought back memories of others who had walked before me in a way that made the impossible possible. I think of my grandmother Ruth who paved the way for me to know Jesus. I remember seeing tears gently flow down her face in church as she sang “Oh How I love Jesus” You almost understood without words that her hope and comfort were not in this life. This life had handed her hard circumstances and poverty. Yet you knew in that moment her heart was clearly tied straight with the heart of heaven as she sang of her hope deep within. I think of a teacher and co-laborer who loved her children dearly and loved GOD. She was the most unassuming woman I knew. She was steady and faithful to GOD’s business and she truly touched lives with a genuine love that many who were in her class can still remember. Debbie  was inspiring and would be the most surprised to have anyone write that about her. Her fifth grade class always remembered her long after graduation and into their adult lives. I think of Kim my sister in the LORD who survived college, babies and tons of school years teaching along side of me. She was never too busy to love and listen and weep with me over the breakup of my family. She always had words of wisdom and mercy when it seemed as if the world had dumped everything it could possibly throw on me. Melina went to be with the LORD today and I think of her precious affirmation of great confidence in GOD. I know she was thrown a curve ball with cancer and seemed to be totally out of the woods when something rose up that took her life in the most unexpected way. This is a time when life doesn’t’ make sense at all. My precious daughter was hurting and crying over such a great loss for Melina’s children.  Melina had been her rock during the divorce and was crucial in helping my daughter not walk away from her faith. Most answers to this kind of loss I could offer and to this kind of pain fail right now. But I want to say as much as I grieve over Melina’s death I have to also think about her virtue. Like all of the ladies I mentioned above there is one common thread. They were virtuous. Their desire to do what is right and to live the light of Christ before us has influenced so many for good and for GOD. I would not be where I am without my sisters in CHRIST who were strong when I was weak and who prayed when I needed to rest from praying. I thank GOD for them and hope some day to be like them and also to be the kind of light in someone else’s darkness as they are in mine. They are not forgotten.

Who can find a virtuous woman for her price is far above rubies.