God, Friends, Mercy, Forgiveness, Empathy, Compassion and Grace

This message from our Dear Sister Lynn Stoneking really preaches for such a time as this! PTL!!! AMEN!!
Lynn Stoneking

There’s a man buried at our cemetery.

Yes – my father is buried there…but there’s another man. While visiting my dad’s grave today w/ family, I saw this other man’s grave.

I knew him. We were the same age.
I found out by accident that he had passed from this earth, but had forgotten; It was a private ceremony.
Today I was reminded.

My mother did not know;
As we stood in front of his marker, her heart sank as well.

This man had attended our Summer Camps here on our property when we were in our tween years.

I remember distinctly one camp night that his counselors could not find him. After much searching our property, his counselor finally located him in the dark shadows of the bushes, crying. This boy’s parents were in the process of a divorce, and he was hurting inside.

Apparently, my dad never lost touch with this boy – as he grew into a man. At dad’s Celebration Service last August, I was speaking and located a man standing at the back of the sanctuary. Later – as we laid my father’s body to rest at the cemetery – I saw that same man. Immediately – I recognized who he was.

I made my way over to him and said his name.
He smiled at me and couldn’t believe I remembered him.
I told him I remembered him stopping in to our farm when he was here and talking to dad. We would see him occasionally at other gatherings with local ties.

The man nodded, then looked at me with moist eyes and stated, “Your dad would call me – to check in.
He remembered me.
Your dad never gave up on me.”

Today – I stood in front of that man’s grave.
Same age as me.
Different story than me.

Today – my eyes were moist in front of him.
I can wonder what his cause of death may have been.
I can imagine the pain his family has felt.
I can mourn for his family left here.

But I’m thankful that God knows all that I don’t know.
And God understands all that I don’t.

Friends – may we remember to pray Over one another :
Blessings – not curse.
Mercy – not anger or despise.
Forgiveness – not jealousy or hate.
May we remember that we each are fighting battles that none other sees.
May we remember empathy, compassion, grace.

Lord – help me to be Your light in this world.
A beacon of Hope to someone who needs Hope today.

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