I want to thank everyone who has offered comments both public and private of encouragement in response to this recent post. Your words of grace and your prayers are cherished and appreciated.

Some of you have continued to ask about Richard and Anne. By way of update, I wanted to share with those of you wanting to know that Anne’s pathology report came back last week with the worst medical news possible: stage 4 glioblastoma. It is the same kind of aggressive brain tumor Richard had. We appreciate prayers for Anne and her family and for our church as we press into caring for them through the impending treatment routines.

Sadly, I must share that our friend Richard passed away early Sunday morning. I am glad I was able to spend the day with his family Saturday and, while Richard was sedated, I am grateful I got to hold his hand and speak words of gospel assurance to him. His family is deep in grief right now but they grieve as those who have hope (1 Thess. 4:13). They know Richard is better than better right now and that those who know Christ will know Richard again in the age to come.

Richard was adamant all along about the gospel being preached at his funeral. He knew I wouldn’t preach anything else, but it was a point he stressed several times over the last year with me. He has unbelieving family members and friends, and in his mind, if this is what God would use to win the lost, he was all for it. I found an old email from Richard while reminiscing last weekend. Dated Sep. 12, 2012 — a little over a year ago this month — he closed his message this way:

I really feel so blessed that God would actually use me at all to attempt to bring Him the glory He so deserves. Why me, brother?

Did you catch that? Where most would say “Why me?” in the sense of “Why would God pick on me? Why would God give me cancer?”, Richard meant it the other way: “Why would God choose me for such a privilege?” If his cancer could be used to glorify his Savior, he considered it a blessing. Of course Richard has dealt with bouts of anxiety and dperession, low moments that strike normal people going through this kind of pain. But I am heartened that he’s had this perspective from the beginning. Talking with Richard’s dad yesterday at their home, his father recalled sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for the bad news 2 years ago. His father said he’d said, “No son should die before his father,” to which Richard replied, “No, dad. It’s a fortunate thing because God can use this.”

Just a few hours after receiving the news of Richard’s passing, ysterday’s worship gathering was difficult, as you can imagine. His funeral will be Wednesday. Will you please pray for his family? He leaves behind a mom and dad and several siblings, including a sister who lost her husband to cancer a few years back. And he leaves behind a young wife and two small children. They will need the intercession of the saints.

Those of us who knew Richard are grateful for the gift he was. And is. We will see him again in glory, when death has been swallowed up in the victory of Christ’s final conquest, the consummation of his kingdom, when all the earth will be gleaming with his infinite glory. We’re excited about that day and glad in our grief for this day, because our friend Richard hurts no more.