Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Well done, good and faithful servant

When I first heard that our friend Anne Neu's husband Jon had been diagnosed with Amyotrphic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or "Lou Gehrig's disease") three years ago, I began to pray for the family on almost a daily basis.

While saddened by the news, I was also uplifted by the indomitable faith shown by Jon, Anne and their five children. While they were certainly not delusional over the severity of Jon's condition, the Neu family seemed to embody what is my personal favorite Bible verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." No, they weren't thankful for Jon's condition. But in their difficult circumstances they could be a shining light for God's kingdom. I still recall Anne's blog post regarding Brittany Maynard, the young lady who nearly two years ago chose to end her life due to having an inoperable brain tumor. 

I've been thinking a lot about the young woman who has chosen to end her life due to terminal cancer. Perhaps you've seen her story? My heart breaks for her and her family. She is far too young to say goodbye.

But my heart breaks for her family in another way as well. I'm so sad that they won't get the opportunity to care for her, serve her and love her through her illness....and that she won't get to experience that kind of love.

I am so grateful for the time my kids and I get to have with Jon. I'm so excited that my children will experience and give Christ-like service in a way most children do not have the opportunity to give. My heart is so full of love when I think of taking care of Jon in the way that he deserves to be cared for. I am so grateful for the many lessons we will learn (and are learning) through this process... humility, strength, faith, gratitude... the list could go on and on. I am so grateful that while Jon's body fails him, his heart and his love will not fail my sweet family.

I am so grateful that we will experience the fullness of whatever God gives us.

Part of my daily prayers included my expression of thanks that the Lord allowed me to know the Neu family and how they were a great example of Christ's unconditional love. It's not hyperbole when I say I was truly inspired by their iron clad faith.

I share all this with a somewhat heavy heart due to Anne informing us Tuesday evening that Jon had gone home.

Today my heart is broken. Sometime in the night my dear Jon passed from this life and into the next.

It was not unexpected, and yet shocking. I never would have thought that I'd wake without him.

Knowing Jon means that I have known true love. I have known love that is patient and kind. I have known love that does not envy and is not boastful. I have known love that beareth all things, believeth all things, and hopeth all things. I have known love that endureth all things.

Knowing Jon means I have known true love. Knowing the gospel of Jesus Christ means I know that I will feel that love from Jon again some day. Today my heart is broken, but I know that, in time, it will heal.

Thanks, Neu family, for allowing us to know Jon as well as sharing your faith story. Our continued thoughts and prayers will be with you.


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