Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection!
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 20:6; 21: 3-5
Last night our friend, Shawn Kuykendall died.
He fought a rare form of cancer for 8 months. I was one of thousands of people who interacted with him during that battle and I agree with the words that were used to describe him over and over– joyful, courageous, honoring to God. His good friend, Mike Foss wrote an incredible testimony to Shawn’s character in this USA Today piece.
This quote that Mike included really captures Shawn’s heart during these eight months:
“So praise be to God. I’m not going to waste time being sad or worried or scared. I have to fight. If I trust in him and fight, everything else will take care of itself.”
A few years ago, Shawn reflected on one of Jesus’ last words from the cross during Restoration’s Good Friday service. The word was, “I thirst.’ Shawn talked about being humble and finite. During the last 8 months, Shawn slammed in to the finitude of his physical body. But Shawn’s victory is that he remained faithful in his trust in Jesus, in his kindness to friends and family, and in his never ceasing declaration that only God is infinite and only God is good. And He is.
I, like hundreds of people, am so sad about this news. I wanted God to heal him in astounding fashion. And I, like hundreds of people, am gripped by the pathos of human life and potential that is lost. Those ‘why’ questions never go away.
But I am also thrilled that Shawn is done with this fight and that Shawn finished it well. Shawn was faithful to God to the very end and that is an inspiration to me and to thousands of people who watched him persevere.
We will all die. We will all give an account for our life. We will all meet our Maker. You cannot avoid this.
Some of us will meet our Maker with Jesus– who delivers and rescues and saves us from our sins– at our side. All of us can choose this.
Thank you Shawn for a life well lived. May your rejoice in the presence of Christ whom you love.