Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Grace in Grief

This will be our only post this week as we grieve, yet rejoice as well, with the Homegoing of Bro. Danny McCammon

Last night, some time after 10pm I received a phone call on my cell phone…I did not get to it in time to answer it and, by the time I looked at my cell phone, my home phone began ringing…if anyone knows anything about life in the ministry, that is never a good sign. I got the shocking word that my friend, and brother in Christ, Danny McCammon had a heart attack and it didn’t look like he would live. By the time I arrived at the hospital, he had gone to glory.

There is no one in our Church that has spent as much time with my family as Brother Danny - in all truthfulness not because he just liked hanging out with me, but because as we moved a couple of weeks ago into a new house and Bro. Danny was the one who pretty much fixed every single problem we had! He knew I knew very little (in truth absolutely nothing) about “fixing stuff” but he allowed me to stand beside him while he fixed things and, at times even attempted to make me feel useful! On more than one occasion he said, “I need you to hold this, but if you touch those two wires they are going to light your world up.” Needless to say, I held what he asked me to and didn’t touch those two wires! All of this to say, that I love Danny and Peggy McCammon dearly! Not only for the fact that he ministered to me much more than I did him…but also because countless families in our Church have the same testimony of Bro. Danny! He has helped more families through “rough patches” and repairs and quiet support than any of us will ever realize.

Not only was Bro. Danny a silent “fix it” hero, but he encouraged me; he loved our Lord, Trinity, and our family. He was so faithful to the Church and to the Lord! He was steadfast and sure. For that bond in such a short time I will be forever grateful to our Lord. During this grieving process, someone has said to me: “It will be tough walking your church through this.” As I began to think about that statement, and thought about being at the hospital with Bro. Danny’s family last night, I knew that there was not really an opportunity to “walk” the family or our church through this loss on this side of the passing of Bro. Danny... this guidance was given prior to last night (through the Lord’s Sovereign will and wisdom)! You see, I listened to Mrs. Peggy as, through her tears she could proclaim how she knew she would see her husband again, and how she knew where he was. I heard them proclaim the sovereignty of God and their trust in our Lord! As I recounted the natural grief that all of us felt, I also ran to times as we have opened the Word of God and discussed the importance of bringing glory to God – even in our dark days. Last night I witnessed Bro. Danny’s family, in the midst of heartache, live out their theology! I saw their theology, their doctrine, gushing forth. I watched their grief take them to the bear bones of what they believe about our loving Savior.

Today I have pondered John 11:1-44 - when Christ raises Lazarus from the dead. I want to encourage you to read it, but I want you to see just a couple of things about this that will help all of us as we face this hurt in our church and community.

1. Those who loved Lazarus called out to Christ: (v. 3) As Mary and Martha called for Christ’s presence, so did so many of us. We asked that God intervene, that He spare Danny’s life.

2. Jesus didn’t move the way we wanted: (v.5- 6) There is not a believer who knows this family that can say that anyone would want or expected this. In this text, as with Danny, Jesus withheld healing - and the amazing thing, is the reason He did. Did you see the reason in verse 5? Because Christ loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Wow! It was the love of Christ that allowed the death of Lazarus. It was His love that allowed Lazarus to die! This makes no sense to us, does it? Why did Christ work this way?

3. It brought God glory: (v.4) In some way that we see today, but certainly wasn’t seen at this moment, the act of God being glorified was more of an act of love, than preventing the death of Lazarus would have been. I can tell you that Danny McCammon’s death was not in vain, and God will be glorified in ways we can’t even begin to know at this time.

4. It brought Christ pain: (v. 35-36) Even though Christ knew exactly why this was happening, He still wept with those who were weeping. He still hurt with great grief with the family and friends. This is what we will do with the McCammon family - we hurt and grieve and cry with them, all while still knowing we serve a God who is in control and who understands our hurts. A great little poem goes:

Though He giveth or He taketh
Christ His loved ones ne’er forsaketh.
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

Now, most of you have to be thinking that this event, this story from Scripture makes no sense to bring up - after all Bro. Danny was not resurrected - he is in glory! How does his passing fit with Lazarus? Well, we know by the Word of God that there is no other place sweeter, no place free of disease and hurt and death than Heaven. For the glory of God, Lazarus was taken from that place and brought back to a place of sin, and disease and hurt only to face the enemy of death a second time! What is worse? Lazarus left Heaven and came back to face death again - in order to show the world that Christ is King over death…The McCammon family, and Trinity Baptist Church, had to lose Danny and be reminded that Christ is King over life. Bro. Danny is rejoicing with those who have gone before us – singing the Redemption Song and praising our Savior! Holy, Holy, Holy is his song and he gets to see the One who is worthy of our worship!

I know this is a VERY long post, but a necessary one. I was going to post this prayer from “The Valley Of Vision” the final day of 2009 but did not… I now know why. As you read this, pray for the McCammon family, Trinity and our Community as Danny will be greatly missed. But pray for Bro. John Miller, our Minister of Senior Adults who was also a very close friend of Danny for many years, as he will be doing the majority of the funeral on Wednesday at 2 pm at Trinity.

O Love Beyond Compare,
Thou art good when thou givest,
When thou takest away,
When the sun shines upon me,
When night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
And in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Thy goodness has been with me during another year,
Leading me through a twisting wilderness,
In retreat helping me to advance,
When beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With thee as the blessed Pilot of my future as of my past.

I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes
to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
Thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution
And temptation, I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
Grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort
Or trial,
As a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.


Anonymous said...

We have been prepared for joy and pain by the constant teaching from the Word at Trinity. We thank our Lord for this!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bro.Chad for this memorial and for the poem, it meant alot to me when I read it, also thanks for the scriptures, it helped me to understand that God does love each of us even when we face the death of a loved one.

Tom McClellan said...

Thank you Bro. Chad, what a testimony! Carole and I are blessed to see God at work.

It may not be as powerful, but I hope you saw Colt McCoy's witness following the BCS championship game last night.

Tom and Carole McClellan