November 9, 2011

My Brother, Jack. (A Letter from Margaret)

My Brother, Jack

As I think about my brother dying I want to encourage families to be kind and loving to one another. You will not want to have regrets when one of your siblings goes through serious illness or even death. Live together with love and respect.

Jack, where should I start? I was 2.5 when you were born. My memories include so many examples of your care for others. I remember when you invited a neighbour boy to our home and asked mom to make him a good lunch like she made for us. You noticed when people needed help and found ways to do so. You loved the outdoors and were involved with cadets. You knew everything we needed to know about camping.

I can’t remember that mom or dad had to discipline you. You were always a good student and loved school. If I remember correctly you were the first in our congregation to get a degree. Mom and dad were so proud of you. So was I!

You knew so much about living things. You could explain things so well to others about the amazing design of plants and insects. You had the most amazing collection of insects expertly mounted and labeled. It is no wonder you became a great teacher.

It was a step down for you financially when you left your job with the seed company to start teaching at RCS. But I never heard any regrets from you. Your schedule is still full using your time wisely teaching others throughout the day. You never seemed to waste time and you are still as busy as possible teaching others about the works of the Lord.

It is hard for me to understand why you are suffering now, brother. But each time I read or hear of ways the Lord is providing for you from your community I see that your affliction is a blessing to others allowing them to serve you. What an encouragement it is to read of all the love and care flowing to you now.

You have been a consistent witness of faithfulness to the Lord. I know that even as a teenager you nightly read from your Bible. You began to read and share good books as a young man and even started a reformed book service ministry buying books for a bargain and selling them at cost for others to read. Even now you are being an evangelist from your home and on your blog. I have seen and heard of young people coming to speak with you about sin and salvation. You are just continuing what we have seen you do throughout your life. You are still such a stable and organized teacher.

As older siblings we were so blessed that you and Lena cared for our Mom and Dad for 20 years. We could always be confident that they were in good hands. You served them so faithfully. We know they appreciated you so much. It is hard for them now to see your body breaking down.

It has been hard for us to see you give your things away that you enjoyed so much knowing that you can’t use them any more – your fishing equipment, rods, lures, your entire collection. You are showing us how to let go of this world and everything in it.

Your love for friends and family has always been one of your endearing characteristics. The hardest thing for us is to see you with your grandchildren preparing them for when you will be gone. Your family loves you so much. You are blessed to have seen them come to faith in the Lord and embracing the same lifestyle you and Lena have lived – one that is trying to obey the golden rule to love God above all and others as self. It is so good to see your children and older grandchildren surrounding you with their concerns and love. The Lord has blessed your fathering, Jack. They will make sure their children will never forget you and will hold you up as an example to follow. There are not many people in the world, Jack, who are examples to follow. You are one and I am so thankful that you are my brother.

Your home has been open to us for years as we came to Dundas for church meetings. We have had such wonderful times of spiritual fellowship and family love. I am so blessed to have you as my brother. I want to keep you with us for a long, long time but I am beginning to know that God’s grace is sufficient for you and He knows what is best. He is your Father. You are His adopted son willing to serve Him and glorify Him even in this hard providence. His strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Jack, we thank God for your consistent life of giving God glory. You are doing that still. May God’s comforting presence carry you through to the end of your time with us.

I love you, Jack, but I know that God loves you more than I ever could. 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jack,
    Our lives, to my recollection, have never crossed paths although I visited the church in Hamilton many times as a youth. Your name was a familiar one as many of my cousins children went to RCS. The tenderness which God has set in my heart when reading this blog has often caused tears of sadness mixed with joy knowing that the same Loved One who drew himself to me over 10 years ago is divinely orchestrating your life to meet Him soon. It humbles me to read these testimonies about a life I never knew.
    Through Christ's love,
    a friend

    Sovereign ruler of the skies,
    Ever gracious, ever wise,
    All my times are in thy hand,
    All events at Thy command.

    His decrees who formed the earth
    Fixed my first and second birth;
    Parents, native place, and time,
    All appointed were by Him.

    He that formed me in the womb,
    He shall guide me to the tomb;
    All my times shall ever be
    Ordered by His wise decree.

    Times the tempter's power to prove;
    Times to taste the Saviour's love;
    All must come, and last, and end,
    As shall please my heavenly Friend.

    Plagues and deaths around me fly;
    Till He bids, I cannot die;
    Not a single shaft can hit,
    Till the God of love sees fit.

    - John Ryland (1753-1825)