“We Have Lost a Friend: "Honoring Our Senior Members"”

By Don Case

On November 12, our congregation lost Rich Martin. Some of our members knew him for a few decades and will always remember him and his dedication. Many of you will remember the years Rich spend as a deacon, elder and often as a spiritual advisor to so many. His dedication to this congregation was unprecedented. Earlier as an elder, he found it most difficult to see members fall away or follow some other doctrine. He never stopped trying to keep Christians spiritually strong and following the biblical pattern.

I spent a lot of time with Rich during the last two years but it became increasingly hard to watch him struggle in severe pain. I found it difficult to remove his number from my phone as I realized I could no longer be of any help to him. I gained a lot from our hours together, he was always inspiring and expressed his dedication to this church.

Someday Everything Will Be Clear

We grieved as a congregation of Rich's friends. We tried to find understanding, comfort and hope in this loss. There were moments of despair and grief when we tried to understand how God functions in our lives. Often during grief we do not have answers to many of our questions. Just because we do not know answers to some questions does not mean we have a reason to give up our faith and trust in God. Suffering does not mean God does not care or God does not exist. When we do not have a full understanding of issues does not mean our faith is any less, it is the basis of our faith. There is so much we do not understand during a period of grief but it is this which we must build our faith and trust in God.

Grief has a potential to destroy us. It can separate us from those around us and can leave us alone and disconnected. It also has the potential to bring people together for mutual support, care, and love. Our grief should bring us closer to God. We should also allow it to bring us closer to the ones we love.

"...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:3-5).
"Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted."

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