Thursday, October 24, 2013
Today 4 weeks ago was the worst day of my life. It was the day I found out my brother had been killed in a motor vehicle accident. Instant death.
I remember it like it happened today. My sister called me crying and said through the tears "Mark died." So much went rushing through my head, I went numb. I remembered thinking that the rest of the family needed to know - so I began calling. I got through to a couple sisters, and was able to tell them what happened - they were so hurt that they hung up on me. I tried another sister and wasn't able to get through to her, I hope she got the message even today.
I remembered going back to the place we were staying (we had just arrived the night before for our anniversary trip), and packing everything back up. We got in the car and started heading to my parents, then it hit like a ton of bricks. I was angry, hurt, and praying that God would wake me up from this nightmare.
When we made it down there, we were greeted by family - so much pain, as all of our hearts had been ripped open and the tears flowed. Every time another family member would show up, it would start all over again, until all the ones we knew were coming were there.
That night, I woke up with a dagger in my heart - couldn't sleep, could barely eat during the day (I didn't want to pass out so I forced myself to eat). The pain seems so much more real in the middle of the night, when it's quiet and it's just you and God.
I remember sitting in the planning session for his funeral. My family sharing things they wanted to do, or things they thought Mark would want. Tears were continuing to flow from everyone.
I remember the first time I saw his casket as we walked in for the family time before visitation. My brother, 23 and full of life - now his lifeless shell lay in a casket. Could this really be? Was this really happening? This was and is in fact the hardest thing I have faced in my entire life. It was so unexpected.
I remember then the ride to his grave. Still in unbelief, we buried my brother.
Let me share a little about Mark.
Mark loved God with all his heart. Every conversation we had was about God and what He was doing in his life, and then he would point it back to me. What was God doing in my life, and how was my walk?
Mark was not a gossip - we all knew that the shortcomings we had or things we did were safe with him. Whenever I was around, I remember him standing up for right, several times.
Mark also loved people. He loved people in a way that I want to love people. Mark had a great concern for their eternal soul. Telling them about how we have all sinned against God by breaking the 10 commandments. But how God supplied atonement for our sin through His Son Jesus Christ. How if we repent of our sin (turn from it), and put our faith in the fact that Jesus died for our sin and now rose again and conquered death, that we too could have eternal life. It's one thing to say all of this, it's another thing to live it. Mark lived it.
A few weeks before Mark went home to be with his Savior, he had talked to me and told me that he was willing to give his life - if that would bring more glory to God than being alive for him. I didn't think much of it, as I've been in that place before, but looking back - God was preparing Mark for his home-going.
Let me share more about my God.
Through all of this, yes there's pain, but the grace and peace of God has passed all understanding. There is a great hope in eternity, that I too one day will sing praises to the King of Kings, side by side with Mark because of Jesus Christ. Heaven is so much more real - a piece of my heart is there now.
God has shown me the value in people. Our lives are quickly fading, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Are we going to choose to live in eternity with Him, or choose an eternity totally separated from Him, a place that is set aside for the devil and his demons - where there is no mercy, paying for the sins that would have been covered by Jesus, had we chosen to believe on Him?
There's so much more I could say, but I think Mark's funeral service says way more than I could ever put in to words. Please, take the time to hear what was said about a man of God, and about God Himself. http://krbc.org/resources/sermons/sermon/167:memorial-service-mark-neiger . Many have said that his funeral was life-changing, a revival and I know I truly felt the presence of God there.
Posted by Living Happily Ever After at 7:20 PM