A Tale of Two Deaths: Grace Unexpected

Posted by donna on June 13, 2019

june blog.jpgEveryone loves a story with a happy ending; boy gets girl, the ranch is saved, Timmy gets rescued from the well, Superman defeats Lex Luthor . . . you get the picture. But what happens when the story doesn’t end like we want it to?

Last month, we saw a father’s joy in the Parable of the Prodigal when the lost son returns; “For this my son was dead, and is alive again, he was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:24). It’s a story with a happy ending. We won’t get to the part of the story about the older brother just yet, that would be jumping ahead. Let’s take a side trip to the times when life does not turn out as we expect, for it is there that we find grace unexpected.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

My good friend John died several weeks ago. He was a long time missionary and translator who helped translate a tribal dialect into the Old Testament thus completing the very first full Bible translation in the Yali language, one of several hundred tribal groups in Papua, Indonesia.  He had cancer and had lived with this disease for seventeen years. He was treated with one drug that held his cancer in check, knowing there would come a day when the drug would stop working, which it did. John had seventeen years to prepare for his death. He watched his teenage children grow into adulthood and had the added blessing of knowing his grandchildren. He prepared for that walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and there was GRACE.

Our friend Loren also died recently. A long-time pastor, who was burdened for and loved those who didn’t fit into the traditional church setting. He came to the AGC with a proposal to plant a house church model in the south of Winnipeg. South Pointe House Church was born out of that vision and was beginning to bear fruit. Loren went to bed one evening and woke up in the presence of Jesus. Shock and grief followed. His walk through the valley of the shadow of death had little preparation, and was but a few quick steps, and there was GRACE.

Both John and Loren lived with the anticipation of that final walk, as we all do.  We anticipate spending eternity with our Lord and Savior. At times, like John, we may have years to prepare for that day. For others, like Loren, there is no time to prepare. The teaching of Scripture gives us assurance of our salvation and in a sense, we should always be prepared for that walk, it’s just the “getting there” part that we at times wish to avoid!  John & Loren both lived lives pleasing to the Lord. Both served the Lord and impacted many for the Gospel. Their deaths remind me of the deaths of two brothers, as noted in Scripture. Early in His ministry, James, the brother of Jesus, was put to death by the sword on the command of Herod (Acts 12:2). His bother John, died an old man, banished to the isle of Patmos where the Lord revealed to him the “Revelation.” Both lived well, influenced many for the Gospel, and experienced grace unexpected.

As believers, we are given no promise of a long and healthy life, free from care, worry, disease or misfortune. We are promised grace, in the form of His abiding presence. Amid grief and uncertainty, it may not always be easy to see, but it is there. There may be difficult and trying circumstances, pain and heartache that shake us to the core of our belief. Even then, there is grace unexpected when we need it the most.

Comforted by GRACE unexpected,

Bill Allan first name.PNG 

Bill Allan

AGC President 

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