Life is so unpredictable.
Two weekends ago, I was at a wedding, celebrating with one of my girl friends.
This past weekend, I was at a memorial service for a beloved family friend.
Isn’t that life, though? In an instant, everything can change. You could meet the one you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Or, you could lose the one you thought you would spend the rest of your life with.
In the case of these two events-two contrasting life events. They have something that ties them both together.
They both were celebrations. Of course, you celebrate at a wedding; unless, you disagree with the choice.
A memorial service, is not necessarily one you equate to a celebration. The one I went to on Saturday was.
The memorial service was for a man named Bill Zink. There was an open mic at the service. However, I didn’t feel like I should take up that precious time, so I am writing the impact he had on me here.
I grew up knowing him and his family. His youngest daughter and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. I never knew a time without their family being in my life. His wife was my Sunday School teacher during some of my most difficult teen years.
Mr. Zink’s greatest impact on me was not the words he said, but the way he lived. I started to understand Jesus as a “suffering servant” by watching the way he lived. He was in no way perfect. He would be the first to admit that.
Mr. Zink suffered enormously. For eleven years he fought Churg-Strauss syndrome. His health was up and down. He was in an out of the hospital more times than anyone I have ever met. Yet, when he was out of the hospital, he always had a smile on his face, and a hug ready for everyone he greeted.
Last October I went over to Mr. and Mrs. Zink’s house for dinner. I remember Mr. Zink saying something along the lines of, “suffering is good for us”. That was his attitude. The more he suffered, the more he leaned into Christ. I never remember him complaining about his illness, but only boasting in God’s strength to endure it.
I’ve met people who believe in a “name it and claim it” health. I know God could have healed Mr. Zink. Our entire congregation prayed for his healing. But in His suffering, God shone the brightest. Through his weak and fragile body, God showed Himself strong.
Mr. Zink was a warrior. He prayed hard. Lived well, and endured graciously. He taught me so many life lessons. I pray I never forget them.
If there were a verse to sum up Mr. Zink’s life I think it would be 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’”
The suffering Mr. Zink endure was not the end of him, but it was the beginning. Through his suffering, he became, more like Christ. He became a greater witness. He became a greater friend, a greater husband, and an even greater Dad.
Through suffering, he was going from glory to glory. And now, he is home. He fought the good fight and remained faithful until the end.
That was the impact he left on my life. I saw suffering in a light I don’t think I ever could have, had he not lived it out for me and others to see.