Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Man of God Refreshed

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Rays HaircutThis pandemic has – this isolation and quarantine – has impacted us all in different ways. As a pastor – I cannot visit my sick and elderly (or any) members. Even family is not allowed to visit if their loved one is in a nursing home/rehab center or a hospital. For some – those last days or hours will be spent – often – alone – without loved ones and friends with them. Some are taking their loved ones home so they can be with them during those last days.

As the rain fell Friday morning – and I was catching up with some friends and others on social media – I began thinking about my father. This fall it will be 8 years since he passed. I found a devotional I wrote days before his passing and I thought I would share it again today. It spoke of my pain and feelings. I miss dad more than I can express in words. A friend posted this today: Wouldn’t you love to step back in time and take a walk with your dad” – and that got me to thinking about dad.

(Posted 9/3/2012 – w/minor changes) You might hear this passage read at funerals from time to time. I tend to not use it very often for various reasons. I was thinking about this passage on Thursday evening as my dad battled for his life in the hospital. I was talking to my sister and brother (I was in Florida with family on vacation) on the phone and heard in their voices the urgency of the situation. I sat in the dark that night weeping my eyes out at the thought of losing a man who not only gave me life but whose life I have tried to model the best I could. I made immediate plans to return home and by 4:30 am on Friday morning I was traveling home (the family would come later).

As Thursday evening and Friday morning unfolded – I began to contact pastors to minister to my dad and family. Here was a man that had spent his whole life ministering to others and now he and his family needed someone to minister to them. I contacted his District Superintendent and mine – and several other pastors. A number came and others offered to come if needed. My brother’s pastor came – my sister’s too. Mom and dad attend both of these churches on some Sundays. A former intern and longtime friend came to visit – someone dad has mentioned when talking about his own funeral some day! A number of pastors and friends left words of encouragement on Facebook, through e-mail and text. It was all so surreal. I had been on the giving ministry side of this equation for 35 plus years as a pastor – now I was on the side of receiving care. Thanks to all!

As I flew home Friday morning I was reading the Bible on my iPad on the plane and this passage came back to mind. 2 Timothy 4:7 – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. If my father had passed – or when he does some twenty years from now – I will have this passage used because he certainly has run a good race and fought a good fight. My dad is more than just a dad to me. He is a model of what a man of God and a pastor should look like! I have fallen short of God’s glory many times – and have fallen short of my father’s example as well. But the model of Christ and the model of my dad are still there for me to strive to measure my life against (thank God for His grace).

As of Sunday night my dad is holding his own and improving some. He is not out of the woods so to speak – but doing better. Thanks for all the prayers and words of encouragement shared by so many. Those who know my father – know him to be a man after the heart of Jesus. His nurses have remarked at how peaceful he has been – even as he clung to life. A model for all of us to strive to follow! We have shared our faith even as dad was showing his faith to all who would ask or listen. Are we all striving to be men and women of God? (End of old post)

Dad would die 15 days after I posted this on my blog – on 9/18/2012 – coming up on 8 years. It was a turbulent time in my life for many reasons. I needed my dad – and although he was no longer here physically – I often felt him near. He was a man of God. I wish I could take a walk with him again. I know he is walking with the saints in the presence of God. I will join him – by God’s grace – someday.

As children and even as adults – we think our parents will live forever. Well – many do – I know I did. And the Good News is – they can live forever – if they give their life to Jesus Christ – like my mom and dad did – like my wife and I have – like all of our children have – and I pray our grands will as well.

I don’t know how folks deal with the passing of a parent or loved one without faith? I know the pain would be too much for me – knowing dad is with Jesus – it is still very hard. Don’t wait for this pandemic to end – find the time to focus on Jesus – confess your sins – ask Him to enter your life as your Lord and Savior – and strive by His grace to be a man or woman of God.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

May 4, 2020 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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