04/26/2017 Farmville Enterprise
Wednesday night while we were visiting her in Bristol Sonia asked us to join her for the pre-final exam bonfire with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It was held at the church just outside the campus gates. Around the fire the students sang a lovely song declaring, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.” My thoughts were stuck on a child of God who had grown up in that congregation from the time he was eleven until he went off to the Naval Academy. This child undoubtedly had spent countless hours on those church grounds shooting baskets, joking around with his two younger brothers and playing youth group games. His father was the pastor there for sixteen years and was on “The Chucks” intramural team with Rocky all during college. Alec, a Navy pilot, died tragically in January. These excerpts from his mother and then his father were worth sharing.
‘God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns…
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress…’
To each of you who loves our beautiful son, Alec, Gordon and I want you to know that though the earth has given way and the mountains have fallen into the sea, our God remains a very present help.
The demon of depression stole the life of our beautiful boy. We want you to know that he was fighting the disease mightily and working very hard to overcome it. But that demon, though it killed his body, did not win the battle. We stand in our sure hope of the power of the resurrection: ‘For we are sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 8:38-39”
“The Body of Christ has never been more beautiful, nor the Good News so good, as they have been to Betsy and me in the days since our son Alec’s death.
Betsy and I are holding tightly to each other and to God, and we are discovering that God is faithful to give us each day what we need. Like the manna that sustained the Israelites in their journey, the blessings and comfort we receive from God’s Spirit get us through each day. We are strengthened and blessed to know that God holds Alec in eternal life and love. We are seeking the path towards life, light, and love, and we trust that in time this path will include joy and laughter again.
The Good News is good, indeed! Jesus Christ came to redeem us from our sin and brokenness, and in Christ’s resurrection God has vanquished the power of death. Thank you again for all your loving care. May we all be strengthened and blessed by God’s Spirit to share this Good News with all who need to hear.”