It was weird sitting there listening to his voice. There he was preaching a sermon about mothers, specifically Mary, the mother of Jesus. At the beginning of the sermon, he mentioned the invitation that would be offered for anyone desiring to make a decision about following Christ. I remember his invitations well having heard many of them in the almost 4 years we listened to him preach.
He's gone now. He died about a month ago.
Wait a minute, he's not really gone is he? He was a strong Christian. He loved Christ & followed him fully and he worked to teach others about Christ. Because of this, we know that he is with Christ as we speak. (I guess, if I'm truly honest, that I've always wondered if we go straight to Heaven when we die or do we wait for Judgment Day? Anyone want to take a stab at that one?) Regardless, this man was a true follower of Christ and because of that, his soul is not dead. For that, I am grateful!
Not only do the memories of Mark Hale live on for his wife and his 4 children and his many friends and fellow Christians, his teachings live on as well. Not only do they live on in the sermon I was able to download off of the church's website, but also in the minds of those who listened to him preach throughout his life. His teachings (based on God's word) along with his life impacted my husband & I immensely and I'm sure many others as well.
Although I know he will enjoy a reward in Heaven, I hurt that he's gone.
I hurt for his wife because she had expressed her longing for him to beat the cancer that had overtaken his body.
I hurt for his children. Although they are all grown, I'm sure there will be many things they wish they could share with him throughout the rest of their lives.
I hurt for the people who never got to listen to him preach.
I hurt for the people who never got to play golf with him like my husband did.
I hurt for the people who never got to fill out a "March Madness" bracket for him.
I hurt for the people who won't have him around to film the birth of their first baby. We have precious video of Gracie mere minutes after being born. These first videos were taken through the operating room window. Because of his disregard for "Authorized Personnel Only," we have those wonderful images of her little feet being stamped. There was no harm done and I'm grateful for the risk he took knowing we would love to have those first few moments recorded.
I hurt for the people who will have to take many hours to move across town. For us, it took a very short time because he organized many men, trucks, & trailers to move furniture from our rent house to our newly bought home.
I hurt for the church members who will never be invited to his home to get to know him & other people in the church better.
Yes, I hurt that he's gone, but I have alot of joy when thinking of him as well. You see, he was a wonderful man who loved Christ. His job in life was being a preacher as well as a husband & father. Because of his love for Christ, he was able to do a good job as that husband & father. I remember my own husband going to a men's workshop of some sort that I think Mark had helped organize. Chris came home from that workshop excited about being a better husband (and he was already doing a good job!)
We will miss Mark. I am grateful for the way he took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to look at things in a way I needed to do.
Do you have someone who helped shape your faith or helped strengthen your faith? Maybe someone who took you out of your comfort zone when you needed to leave it? Maybe someone who you admire because of their faith? I'd love to hear about them!