Monday, February 12, 2007

Sometimes the brokenness of this world and we who call it "home" really smacks us in the face. This last week we said "good-bye" to two dear friends who succombed to brain cancer.

Rene Moser's battle was about 13 months. I don't know that in nearly 40 years as a pastor I have ever seen someone grow spiritual as fast, deep, and strong as she. In her life and death, she gave powerful witness to God's love in our suffering. One of her favorite phrases was, "God gets it, we don't." Her trust was child-like, but her insights about God and the purpose of suffering were profound.

We met Dan and Nancy Brower in graduate school, living a stone's throw apart on an island in Winona Lake, IN. Dan and I were youth pastors in churches in neighboring cities while attending seminary. Our four children arrived in close proximity to each other (reversing the sexes--3 boys and a girl for us, 3 girls and a boy for them). They were some of the most amazing missionaries we have ever known, bringing folks to faith and planting multiple churches (now led by nationals) in a Brazilian spiritist stronghold. Some of our most treasured memories are of our visit with them in Uberaba, Brazil.

Nancy's battle with cancer was much more brief than Rene's, but her faith and testimony were similarly unfaltering and inspiring. The morning after her homegoing, I felt compelled to arrange some thoughts in verse:


An “abundant entrance”* is what occurred
As news of her arrival through glory stirred.
When Nancy showed up at heaven’s gate
A gigantic crowd came to celebrate
The arrival of one whose hero fame
Was known by thousands who’d heard her name.
When hundreds of parties* in heaven took place
Whenever an earthling found saving grace,
The angels came to the joyful event,
Their eager query to the Throne was sent:
“Who brought this Brazilian to faith in our Lord?
Whose witness for Jesus deserves the reward?”
Then from the Throne the word was sent:
“Nancy Brower’s the one who gladly went
To live in Brazil and tell of My love--
How to earth I came from heaven above.
Because of her My story was told.
Now this one like others is in My fold.”
So when to heaven Nancy came
Thousands already new her name.
They gathered to meet her with shouts and cheers--
It was just the beginning of millions of years
To celebrate with her dear Lord
And be with friends who heard the Word
Because of her and her husband Dan--
Her partner, companion, and godly man.
Together they served and never looked back--
A model of faithfulness has been their track.
They’ve blessed us all and showed us the way
Of what it means to serve and obey.
Our confident hope and comforting thought
Is the coming reunion our Savior bought.
Then Jesus’ face we’ll finally see
And with dear Nancy forever we’ll be

*2 Peter 2:11 (KJV); Luke 15:10

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