Friday, May 13, 2011

Goodbye, Jeffrey, I'll see you again soon!

Jeffrey (center) with his children.

 
Life has a way of surprising us when we think things are going well. That’s what happened in our family last week. 

My nephew, Jeffrey, died unexpectedly in his sleep.  He was only 58—that’s eleven years younger than I am!  Wow! What a shock for all of us.  Like many people, Jeffrey had a few health issues, but he was doing fairly well in controlling them.  To have him suddenly taken from us is like a sock in the stomach.

I remember when Jeffrey made his debut into this world.  It was the winter I was ten going on eleven. My sister Louise and her family had moved to Portsmouth, VA a few weeks earlier.  She returned to our house shortly before Jeffrey was to be born. She wanted dear old Dr. Sox to attend her when she gave birth. She and the two children she already had stayed with us until after she gave birth and was ready to return home.  I was excited to have my niece and nephew to play with and I remember helping Mama tend to them when Louise went to the hospital. 

I can’t say I remember a lot of specifics about that time, except the day Jeffrey was born.  I remember the story that was told about his birth.  Evidently when Jeffrey was born, Dr. Sox held him up in front of himself and the baby urinated down the front of Dr. Sox’s clothes. With that, Dr. Sox exclaimed, “Well, it’s a BOY!” and everyone in the delivery room laughed.  

We laughed and delighted in telling this anecdote of Jeffrey’s birth for quite a while after his birth.

I didn’t have a lot of contact with Jeffrey after we grew up. I moved away from the East Coast area and he was away in the army.  I do remember Jeffrey coming over to Mama’s house a couple of times when I traveled back to NC to visit Mama.  What I remember most about those visits was how proud Jeffrey was of his family and how he liked to take lots of photos of everyone. 

In recent years, Jeffrey and I corresponded by e-mail. Through these I learned he was quite interested in the politics in his area. He put his concerns into action by running for sheriff a few years ago even though the opposing political party had a larger number of voters and he knew it would be hard to win. While he made a good showing, he did not win, but he stood up for what he believed was right and honorable. 

Last year my husband and I had the opportunity to visit Jeffrey and his family (as well as other NC relatives and friends) when we traveled through North Carolina.  We enjoyed learning about Jeffrey’s current pursuits.

He proudly shared the manuscript of a novel he had written and hoped to get published. 

He also took us on a tour of Fayetteville and especially wanted to show us the Veteran’s Museum.  He was proud to be a Veteran.

He shared some of his concerns about local educational problems and said he planned to run for the school board.  He did run; however, the night of the big debate for school board candidates was the night his father was taken to the hospital very ill. Jeffrey made the choice anyone who puts family first would have made—he left the debate and rushed to the hospital as soon as he learned.  His father passed away a few days later. Jeffrey lost the election most likely because he left the debate, but he did not regret going to his father’s bedside because family was his priority.

There are many other examples I could give of Jeffrey’s devotion to family and country; but, suffice it to say,  he tried to be the best son, brother, father, and grandfather he could be and that he tried to live his life honorably as an American patriot.

In addition to a large family that loves and misses him, Jeffrey leaves many good friends from his community who will miss him as well.  We all mourn his loss. 

When someone is taken suddenly from our midst as Jeffrey was, we are reminded that life is fragile. No one  has any guarantee of length of days. People of all ages die every day. What we can do is be sure we are ready to meet our Lord at any moment, for we could be standing before him in the twinkling of an eye.
“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”  --1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

I am thankful that I came to realize my need for a Savior many years ago.  I have the comfort of knowing that, when my time on this earth is over, I will spend eternity in heaven with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I will see Jeffrey again when I get to heaven.

How blessed we are that while we were dead in our sins, Christ died to redeem us. He died for all of us and, by his fulfillment of God’s law, we are saved for all eternity.
“For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Jesus] the many will be made righteous.” --Romans 5:19

 It’s already done, folks!  Jesus Christ did it for us sinners.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. --Romans 5:8

The only thing left for us is to believe in him.
 “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:21

Have you realized you need a Savior? Jesus died for you too. Recognize him as your Lord and Savior and be at peace with him. Be ready to stand before him, for you do not know when your appointed time will come. 
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” --Romans 10:9
What if you die tonight and stand before God.  How will you answer when he asks you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”?

Perhaps the following verses will be beneficial to you in understanding the answer to that question:

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” --Philippians 2:9-11

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” --John 3:14-18

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”  

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” --John 14: 1-7

 “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” --Acts 4:11-12

“The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.  He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” --Acts 16:29-31

 

“But now apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” --Romans 3:21-23

I hope YOU know the answer because I want to meet YOU in heaven someday.

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