Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Mt 11:28

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Karl

Karl was one of those Christian brothers that moved and lived somewhere along the margins of our lives. He was a nice enough guy but never seemed to have too much to say. A slightly quirky personality and a lot of talent as a photographer seemed to conspire to consistently place him as an observer far more frequently than a participant. Perhaps because of his desire to stand on the sidelines and capture the moments of our lives and the flavor of our town, Karl was not always appreciated for who he was and what he had to offer.

Like a lot of folks who don't always fit our preconceptions as to how a Christian should comport himself, Karl's experiences at church were not always pleasant. He told me once that he couldn't find a church where he felt 'comfortable'. It was our privilege to be able to worship with Karl for a short time earlier this year. It's humbling now to look back and remember that Karl said he enjoyed attending church with us. He enjoyed it but I don't know if we ever made him feel comfortable. I don't know if we were ever able to show him how much we appreciated having him with us.

Karl went home to be with the Lord late last week. After an astonishingly brief battle with a previously undetected brain tumor, early last week, Karl slipped into a coma and then into the presence of our Father. The family is stunned and reeling at their loss and need our prayers and the soothing presence of the Holy Spirit desperately.

Kelly and I were having dinner at Chick-Fil-A last week when we saw Karl sitting at one of the table in the dining room with his wife, Sandy. Karl saw us, then did something I don't think I've ever seen him do. With a huge smile on his face, he looked up and waved enthusiastically. "Hi, folks! Good to see you!" Knowing the Doctors had provided little hope for a recovery, we exchanged pleasantries and asked how he was doing. In a most gracious and sincere way, Karl said, "OK." Afterwards, he come over to our table and said, "I just want to tell you how much your prayers mean to me. You know I've had a difficult time recently and your thoughts and prayers have been an encouragement and a blessing to me and my family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. "

That was the last time we spoke to Karl. I figure it was the Holy Spirit rising up in Karl to show us that the things that separate us are far fewer and less significant than the thing that binds us together, the presence of God Himself in our lives. We have that in common with our brother, Karl. Someday, we'll stand next to him before the throne of our Father. I can hardly wait to see Karl there. I'm sure he will have that same broad, warm smile on his face only this time, it will last for all eternity.

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