#928 - Well Done...

...good and faithful servant

 This is my friend, Jon, and I can guarantee you that he heard "Well done, My good and faithful servant," on August 9, 2013. Jon was born 33 years ago (he was exactly 364 days younger than me, born on March 27, 1980 and I was March 28, 1979) with congenital heart disease. As with all of us, no one knew how long he'd be on this earth. The difference, though, is that Jon lived as if every day were his last. He was a wild and crazy kid, and then when Jesus took control of his life, he became what some would call a "Jesus Freak." He loved the Lord so much, and he dedicated his life to serving him through youth ministry. 

Jon and I were in the youth group together in high school. We had a very strong youth group, and we didn't all just see each other on Sundays and Wednesdays. My closest group of friends was from that youth group. We hung out together all of the time doing crazy things that teenagers do. Many times, Jon was the one to come up with the ideas of what we should do. I'm so thankful I was able to know him. His funeral was this afternoon at 2 pm in Jacksonville, FL. I am currently in Maryland visiting my family, so I could not attend the service. However, thanks to Facebook, around 100 of us from the high school days have been writing back and forth in a group message remembering Jon stories and sharing photos. I know Jon would be so excited that we've all been reconnected thanks to him. 

I don't understand why things happen the way they do. No one does, really. But, what I do know is that our God is sovereign, faithful, loving, and all-knowing. His plans are absolutely perfect. He sees the BIG picture. And ultimately, He wants to receive the most glory. A week or so ago I was talking to my best friend on the phone. She didn't know Jon, but she's been praying for him (he was in the hospital in Nashville for over a month before dying) and his family throughout this journey. I was telling her about how I was praying - "Lord, please heal Jon! If you heal him now, everyone will know that it was only You who could have healed him, and You will receive SO much glory!" And then the Lord spoke so clearly through my friend. "Laura, don't you love how we try and tell God what He should do? You do realize that no matter what happens to Jon, God is still going to receive glory." (She's always been the honest kind, and for that I am so thankful!) Um, yes, you are absolutely right! Why do we so often feel as though we need to tell God what to do through our prayers? I mean, there was no one there in the beginning saying, "Oh, those flowers are a little too pink...maybe you should add some purple to them," or "I'm not so sure about that weird looking animal called a rhino." And somehow, God did just fine creating everything! I say all of this to say that I was alerted that day to the way I can tend to pray, even when I'm not trying to enforce my will on Him. Thank you, my dear friend, for allowing the Lord to speak through you to me! It certainly wasn't the first time, and I know it won't be the last!

As you can see in the picture above, Jon left two beautiful girls (5 and 3) behind along with his precious wife, Lindsay (who was also in our youth group). Please pray for them in the days ahead as they adjust to the "new normal" of life without their husband and daddy. I just can't even begin to imagine. Pray, also, for the middle school students from Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville, FL as they begin a new school year without a youth minister. 

"It is not how long you live but how you live and who you live for that makes all the difference..."
Glenn Reese (one of my former pastors who spoke at Jon's funeral today)

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