Nothing could have prepared our family for what would occur on Thursday, January 30, 2014! We were awakened by a phone call Thursday morning that would completely turn our world upside down. We learned that my wife’s dad, Don Davis had passed away in his sleep throughout the night. Needless to say we were devastated; it was like a punch in the gut. This was something none of us saw coming but was now a reality for our family. Whether we liked it or not, the following days, weeks, months, years, etc. would be spent without this man whom we loved and meant so much to us. I wanted to share what I have learned so far as a result of this painful experience and I pray that we would all be challenged but most of all Christ be glorified.
Death Is Certain
There are not many things in life that are certain, but rest assured that death will come for us and possibly sooner than we think. So often we like to think that we have plenty of time, but the truth is that we just don’t know when we will breathe our last breath. Don was only fifty four years old and so full of life. Wednesday he was on the phone with my wife for about an hour and so excited about the snow that we had received. He had several projects around the house going and he and my mother in law Terri already had planned a trip to Kenya as well as London this year! Wednesday night he went to bed and woke up in the presence of Jesus. Unfortunately, death doesn’t give us a schedule of when it will knock on our door. The good news for Don is that he was spiritually prepared and entered into eternity with His savior, however, the same cannot be said for everyone. Have you repented of your sin and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do not assume that you have plenty of time!
Grief Is Real and Painful
I have experienced the pain of losing a loved one before. I have lost both of my grandfathers in the past ten years, and both were a painful experience. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them and selfishly wish they were still here. However, the past few weeks has been like living a nightmare. I am not sure if I have ever felt grief like I have in recent days. This completely came out of nowhere and then having to tell our children that their Pa was gone was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I think it has been a combination of the shock due to the suddenness of it all, as well as the impact Don had on all of us. First of all, my wife and her sisters had lost their dad, my mother in law had lost her husband, best friend, and companion, my children and six other cousins (all eight years and younger) had lost their grandfather, and I had lost a mentor and friend. In fact the past couple of years he had become one of my best friends. This couldn’t be real! We all know that we will die at some point but it couldn’t be Don’s time yet! He had so much to offer this world, particularly his eight grandchildren, so much wisdom to share, so much love to give! There are still too many card games left to be played, too many laughs and stories to share, too many football games to watch, too many theological conversations to have! He had been such a huge encourager and supporter for Melissa and me during the past couple of years where we have had to make some pretty big decisions. He has been there every step of the way and has always believed in us and the calling God has on our lives. This just couldn’t be our new reality! How will life continue for our family without this man being a part of it? Trust me I have asked God “why” many times in the past few weeks. God’s presence has been with us and we know that He is in control, but the pain is still very real.
There Is Hope
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” Thessalonians 4:13
Beneath all of the grief, tears, loneliness, and hurt is a solid foundation of hope that can only be possible because of Jesus Christ. As painful as this has been for us, we know of the hope that only Christ can bring. We have a peace that only Christ can give even when we can’t make sense of these circumstances. Jesus rose from the dead and the apostle Paul also longed for the day when all those in Christ would rise. Death has ultimately been defeated and the grave has been conquered. Don is in the presence of Jesus and wouldn’t come back even if he could. Even better is the day when we will join him and worship Jesus together for all eternity. Many have taken the verse above to mean that Christians shouldn’t grieve, but it actually means that we shouldn’t grieve as though we have no hope. As believers we grieve the loss of someone we love, yet rejoice in the hope of eternal life in Christ. The truth is there will always be a void left by Don’s passing, but clearly through the pain of loss has also been a time of celebration as we all know he is with Jesus right now. My prayer is that through this hope we will know Jesus more intimately and be even more faithful disciples for His kingdom.
It will certainly take some time for our family to heal, but we are blown away by the love and support we have all received from family and friends. We are so very thankful to have all of you in our lives! We love you!