This week, I attended a memorial service in which I celebrated the life of a dear friend. Barry died, at what seemed to me, before his time.

Yet, who am I to determine when the last page of his life should be written and what it should look like?

I’ve determined to trust God in this matter because I agree with the Psalmist who prayed, “My times are in Your hand”(Psalm 31:15).

God, whose wisdom is much greater and whose love is much deeper than mine, ultimately decides end of life issues for everyone.

During the last pages of his life, I had the honor of spending time with with Barry and his family. I was with them when they received the dreaded diagnosis–cancer. As the year progressed, we saw both miraculous answers to prayer and an unexpected setback.

Although he was not without some sadness, Barry faced death without fear. In the midst of pain, he had peace. In the midst of uncertainty, he was calm. In the midst of fatigue, he reached out to others. He knew and believed, as my following poem states, that Jesus has power over death.

Sometimes when reading a book of suspense,
I feel so anxious, so worried, so tense;

I turn to the back of the novel to see
If the ending is happy; I hope it will be!

In life when I’m tired, discouraged or sad,
I turn to the end of the book and I’m glad.

I see on the very last pages of life
Jesus is Victor; He’s conquered all strife.

His word is not fiction; it’s certain, it’s real.
Faced with this knowledge, with pain I can deal.

I join those through the ages who plainly can see
Jesus is greater than death even can be!

With courage, with hope, I go on–persevere.
Gods’ love is forever; my heart holds no fear!

I had the honor of being with them on the day Barry departed into heaven. The last page of his life became the first page of a different life for his wife Judy and their son Jason. Because their faith is in the same Jesus that he relied on, they are going through this transition with remarkable courage.

My faith has been strengthened by this dear family. I honor them and thank God for them. Because of them, the next pages of my life will be different.

10 Responses

  1. I met Barry and family at the small group at the Gerlachs’. SO long ago it seems now. I was probably less than a year in Christ at that point. What a loving and *gentle* man. There seemed to be such an intentional effort to place himself under the Spirit’s control. A grace to me in demonstrating the walk. Blessings to Judy and Jason.

    1. Thank you for your affirming comments about Barry and his family. What a joy for Judy to know about this. I will share your message with her.

  2. You portray the peace that comes from God “the peace that surpasses all understanding.” It is very comforting to know that God has everything under control and to know that as our Loving Father that He will always take the very best care of us. Debbie

  3. A beautiful and touching eulogy. Barry and Judy were a powerful part of the life we shared at Koinonia in our early faith years. Jason and our daughter Emily were born within days of each other. We shared 4 years before Pat and our family left the north country. The last time I saw Barry was at Amy Oliphant’s wedding. God bless Judy and Jason as they enter a new phase of their life.

    1. Judy K, Thank you so much for your kind comments. I did not remember that Jason and Emily were so close in age. I’m so glad that you were a part of Koinonia in those early days. I will share your message with Judy S.

  4. Thank you, Jane, for these words. To know Barry is in heaven with Jesus brings joy, but my heart goes out to Judy and Jason and all his friends who must miss him greatly. Truly, our hope is in the Lord and in His great love for us. Thank you for the reminder. Praying for his family and friends.

    1. Thank you for your prayers, Sandy. Yes, Judy and Jason face many challenges and will continue to need the support of friends and family.

  5. thank you for sharing this encouraging reflection on the last day and first day of your friend’s life. Your perspective and the poem are positive reminders that death is not the end and that we choose how we move forward.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Rhonda. Yes, we do have a choice about how we respond to the difficulties of life and death. I’m so thankful for God’s provision in Christ.

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