Don’t Give Up!

uncle laurence sept 2014Well, we said a final goodbye to my dear Uncle Laurence on Saturday at Baseline United Methodist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was a hard day for me. He was such an important part of my world. It feels strange to go on without him. He was my biggest spiritual and emotional cheerleader — the one who would say things like, “You inspire me, Susan.”

In his last days, while my Uncle Laurence was slowly fading away from a fast growing malignant tumor that was blocking his digestive tract, Keith and I were with him in the hospital. I had brought My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers with me (one of his favorites). He couldn’t speak. He was too frail. As I read to him from it’s pages, though, I noticed his eyes respond to the familiar words.

Here are two thoughts that came out of the reading.

1) When God gives us a vision, He then takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision. Every vision will be made real if we have patience and do not try to escape and batter ourselves back into our own shape. (July 6th entry)

2) If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. If we fail, it is because we have not practiced. Practice is essential even in spiritual ventures. (July 7th entry)

What I had considered to be a time to comfort my uncle was actually the reverse.  The reading was in fact his last spiritual conversation with me here on Earth — final thoughts adored by my uncle that have grounded and comforted me during this time of loss.

Thank you, Uncle Laurence! In death, as in life, you have encouraged me to go on — to continue to faithfully serve our Lord and Savior even though at times it feels very hard. I love you! See you soon.

Susan Case Bonner

August 25, 2015