Dan, We’ll miss You, till we meet again.
May 4, 2009, 12:21
Filed under: Christ, faith, Uncategorized

wallpaper_3d_christian_calvary_800lgOur newest family member, Dan F. was called home to be with the Lord suddenly Sunday morning in his home.  There are as yet no details.  Dan was a recent addition to our fellowship, bringing a joy of the Gospel of Jesus and a real outgoing personality,  I will miss his voice saying, “Go on now,Tell it!” , as I preached.

Friday night we spoke for an hour on the phone.  Dan told me that he was ready to tell his story of sixty years in hope I would right a book about his life.  I will need to wait till I meet him in glory to hear it all, but let me share what I do know from his testimony.

Dan grew up in a large Italian family in New Jersey as the only white kid in the neighborhood.  It must not be easy to be a white minority member, but what was harder still is when the family finally moved to a white neighborhood, Dan did not fit in at all, as he was socialized in a African -American community and was never able to adjust to his new setting. Once again he was an outcast.  He said  he tried prison on the East Coast and the West Coast, and preferred neither.

Dan struggled with addiction and anger management.  He married a beautiful black woman he called the love of his life, and served as a deacon, the only white member of a black church,  and felt quite at home there.  Addiction has no respect for title.  Deacon, pastor, husband, the monster that is addiction can never be ignored or it will strike even after it has been pronounced dead. 

I met Dan after he left a Salvation Army  six month program.  Sixty years old and starting over once again.  The church gave him a grub stake to get proper clothes, and he began a menial job,  truly starting from the bottom again. What courage it must take to get up in the morning in a strange town,  alone, fight the good fight of life, working , battling addiction, trying to make amends with loved ones damaged by the selfishness that comes from the addicts life. Great faith is needed to gather strength to go on. 

We were at a homeless shelter feeding those gathered, when Dan gave his testimony.  People stood up as he walked from the podium and got in line to hug him.  I never saw that before.  His message of his own frailty and God’s power reached across racial and social lines with the power of a lumberjack’s ax.  His dependence on God’s mercy for a victory  gave hope to us all. 

When we last spoke there was a weariness in Dan’s voice.  It was the sound of a man who had packed three lifetimes of pain and struggle into one non-stop dramatic episode.  The world will not understand, but most of you will, a loving God gave Dan what he desired most,  peace and rest.   Death to the world is the end of life, to us it is the beginning.  Imagine Dan with an incorruptible body that has no destructive desires,  no damaged parts, no scars and war wounds.  Imagine him with a heart, not broken with failure and short coming, but filled with the awe of God.  Imagine him in a place where his speech patterns and color will be irrelevant.   That is Dan’s future, that is Dan’s eternity.

I feel privileged to have met Dan, to be a small part of his life, to have heard a small part of his story, and to have been his friend and pastor at the end of his earthly run.  It is a joy to know that Dayspring was a pleasure to him, and provided a church home for a short but important time. 

Dan died struggling with life,  I am  sure  he was in a period of victory ,  but even if he had  slipped  into defeat, but I am sure it would not  affect his Salvation.  Our future of being in His Presence does not depend on our victories in life, but in Christ’s Victories on the Cross!  Dan knew who His Savior was, why he needed Him, and fought the battle with all his might.  Can any of us do better?

Dayspring will have a memorial service for Dan F.  Sunday night  May 17th. We will be sad, yet we will celebrate.  We will invite Dan’s associates from the S.A. and the rooms he visited in meetings,  and celebrate the Victory that gives us the Great Hope.  There will be music and funny stories, and definitely, cake.  We will sing our songs of the faith, and also Against the Wind, a Seeger song that Dan said described much of his life.  Pray that flint hearts will be softened and the Word received. 

When I get before the Throne and start to praise my God for all Eternity, I just know there will be a voice in the background saying, “Yes!, go on now, Tell it!” Thanks Dan,  you were an encouragement.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It hurts when we lose them, but it’s always an honor to be part of their lives.

He sounds like one of the good ones. ((hugs))

Comment by Shawn W

“Dan knew who His Savior was, why he needed Him, and fought the battle with all his might. Can any of us do better?”

I think not, Will, I think not.

One day when we all make it up there, I’d be honored if you’d introduce me to your friend.

Thanks for being his pastor.

Comment by theoldadam

Steve, my pleasure!

Comment by willohroots

When we were at the homeless shelter little Jessica clapped for him almost the whole time he spoke. She gave him a kiss when he was done. (from one angel to another) She knew. It was an honor to meet Dan. What a testimony. We should all be so humbled with the saving grace of our Lord as he was.

Comment by Patty

I have heard testimonies much like Dan. I have always felt “they” are choicer saints than I am. It’s amazing how far some people have come from what they used to be. I hope no one misunderstands what I am trying to say…..I grew up in a christian home and a wonderful church but I think men/women like Dan have a more realistic view of what “all” of us really are outside of Christ. Death is never easy but it is always a paradox for those in Christ. There is a real sadness and yet there is real joy. Thanks for sharing this story. And thanks for being there for Dan. I can’t think of a greater calling.

Comment by Ike

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