By Adrian Powell
From the time I used to be a young person, I used to be all too accustomed to loss of life. My mom died throughout my freshman yr of highschool, two days after Christmas, by her personal hand, as she thought that loss of life was preferable to the life she had at the moment as a single mom with an abusive male companion. My sister, 9 years older than I, tried to console me, doing all she may underneath the circumstances.
Since that point, my life has been punctuated by intervals the place I used to be typically referred to as upon to help with a member of the family’s funeral preparations as a result of I used to be a minister and pastor. And since I married a PK (preacher’s child), I had a helpmate who was intimately accustomed to the wants and needs in laying out a well-planned funeral service.
I’ve seen all types of individuals—Christian and non-believer—cope with the final months, weeks, and days of their lives. Throughout all these events, the one factor that grew to become clear was that those that really had a robust relationship with Jesus Christ have been finest capable of cope with their approaching transition.
And with out exaggeration, I’ve noticed that nobody has handled their approaching loss of life in addition to the previous pastor of a number of Church of God congregations, Kim Clark. I knew him within the Nineteen Eighties when he pastored the Victorian Village Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, and he desired to achieve the OSU campus with the gospel message. He had a historical past of well being points, however they have been of little consequence to his outreach efforts and need to proclaim the message of the cross.
We reconnected on Fb and, after a time, I discovered his well being points had change into increasingly severe. It was obvious to the purpose that he grew to become clear in his posts that he was not more likely to have as lengthy a life as he might need wished together with his household, however he knew what was most necessary. I’ll let my pal’s phrases converse for themselves (edited for readability):
“My days are numbered. That’s okay. So are yours. That’s life. However not all of it. I might not be right here that for much longer. No, I’m not giving up. I simply understand that every time I’m about to satisfy a threshold, this factor will get worse than higher. My spirit is immortal and has a house ready by none aside from Jesus himself, however this physique, properly, it appears to have extra limits than I ever imagined. Nonetheless, that which is unattainable to man, God has no limits. Therapeutic and residing to Mother’s and Dad’s age continues to be fully doable.”
What was the content material of Kim Clark’s prayers throughout his latter days on earth? He numbered them:
“1. That my household stays within the grace of Jesus. There isn’t a larger need than they know his mercy and love perpetually.
“2. That my prolonged household may also style of the riches of heaven in today, overcoming the obstacles that maintain them again from realizing the enjoyment and glory of realizing him.
“3. That my associates discover a method ahead on this politicized world and awaken to the reality that’s Jesus alone. He isn’t Republican or Democrat, nor even American. I really like America however I don’t love the poor bed-fellows that politics make with being a follower of Jesus. Jesus overcame the world via his sacrifice of affection and clearly took the sword out of our arms, a lesson that he drove dwelling the final night time he was together with his disciples earlier than the temple guard got here to arrest him.
“I sailed to America from India in ‘my very own ship’ once I was five-and-a-half. After which I sailed to Martha’s Winery each summer time for ten years, and on my honeymoon, and some extra instances with my sons.
“And I’ve been beloved by my candy spouse, my finest pal and companion in ministry for over forty-seven years…. And I’ve a house, ready for me, in my Father’s home, by Jesus.”
Kim provided the next reflections as his physique slowed, however his coronary heart remained tender to Christ:
“The physique is weak. The thoughts is challenged to battle off ache and sleep. The weak spot of thoughts has made it tough to eat or feed myself. Consuming meals is not interesting, so I’ve basically stopped. My mouth simply rejects meals. Swallowing capsules for ache is tough. The weak spot leaves me lazy when utilizing the meals tube. I have to use the feeding tube and can’t clarify how very important it’s…. Please pray for the easement of ache. It has been a lot better, nevertheless it persists.
He provided one other put up that exposed his tender coronary heart:
“Good day, all people. This shall be a brief one. However I practically left Monday night time. It was dangerous sufficient that (I used to be) precisely instructed that I may name the household or be with different household as a result of I may have been carried out anytime this coming day. It was so unhappy on my life. I’m nonetheless right here. It was dangerous sufficient that I’ve Mother and Dad speaking to Jesus. I discuss to you, sure, and so they come to Father. I’ve been with nice ache. God by no means left me. Love you, love him. Love Deb! God is so good.”
As he handled increasingly discomfort and was coping with larger and larger quantities of medicines to cope with that ache and discomfort, it grew to become harder for his ideas to be laid out.
“Pricey Father, I want you! I’m right down to groans and utterances. Please contact and strengthen. Out of the mouth of the grave, into today’s power. That is the day of your relaxation. That is the day to begin! That is the day! With you, Jesus! In the present day, I select to dwell! This step! In Jesus, at present.”
Further posts exhibit Christ-centered life—and Christ-centered transition to the following:
“Ready on loss of life is idiot’s recreation. However I understand, after one other stressed night time…. It’s a probability to say one thing once more and hope to excessive heaven that it’s sufficient. Observe Jesus intently. Man, he loves you! Love overcomes hate. Even within the hatred of sin. God loves ..there’s nothing extra necessary than that. Jesus is aware of that he presents love and peace and therapeutic. I’m probably the most lucky particular person in the entire world. If God permits me to dwell longer, I’ll promote his love extra. I really like my most wonderful spouse. Pray for Debbi and power. Pray for Eric and Logan. God loves you…I could not remind you once more till a later second, God bless.”
His spouse, Debbi, wrote the next which is a portion of his obituary: “Kim Clark went dwelling to his heavenly Father Friday, Dec. 2, on the age of 66, after a brave battle with head and neck most cancers.
“Although medical points took him from the pulpit, he shared God’s message each probability he had. He tried to at all times dwell a life that was Christlike. He would inform you himself that he didn’t at all times succeed. He was certain of God’s grace when he requested for forgiveness and knew it was given. He beloved sharing his witness of God’s mercy, power, forgiveness, and like to anybody who would hear. He noticed the fields white unto harvest throughout him and he by no means stopped attempting to reap these souls. He beloved his fellow man and carried such a burden for them. The hate, distrust, prejudice, and violence on the earth broke his coronary heart. God instructed us to like each other—not just a few. He wished us to know the particular person on the within earlier than judging them from the surface. Hate begets hate. He beloved to assist (others). Kim couldn’t donate his organs due to the most cancers, however he nonetheless wished to assist others that suffered sickness. He donated his physique to ScienceCare. He’ll proceed to make a distinction past his life with us.”
You will need to know that whereas Kim wasn’t an exceptionally well-known particular person, he was very well-known to his Savior. I shut with this quote from one other preacher who was taken comparatively early on account of illness, Charles Spurgeon: “One of the best second of a Christian’s life is his final one, as a result of it’s the one that’s nearest heaven.”
Adrian Powell is a author with Church of God Ministries and serves as senior pastor of Religion Group Church of God in Grove Metropolis, Ohio. He has been printed in quite a few periodicals, newspapers, and blogs, and has authored two books—The Jubilee Harvest and Resident Aliens: A Dwelling Religion in a Hostile World, accessible at Amazon.com.