Today, March 20, would have been my brother Dan's 39th birthday. Instead, the Father's plan was to take Dan home on this date in 2003. He met Jesus face to face on his 33rd birthday, and was immediately healed of the melanoma that he had been battling for some time. Today I am remembering Dan.
I talked with my parents earlier this week and we spoke for awhile about Dan. We still miss him. I still sometimes catch myself, at odd moments, longing to talk to Dan, be with him, discuss life and faith and the Lord with him. I have so many vivid memories of Dan--fun times we spent together, his love of laughter and teasing and being silly, as well as his depth of commitment to his Lord and his love for his family.
But you know what? I am glad for him. I am GLAD that he is with the Lord. He finished his race well! Despite dealing with cancer for many months, he never became angry or bitter. Through his cancer, he actually found more JOY in the Lord and trusting the Lord's plan for his life. He wrote a book about his journey, called "A Place Called Surrender" and shared how in surrendering his own hopes and dreams for his life, he found peace and joy that in Him that Dan had never known before. He was such an example for all of us around him!
I remember very clearly seeing Dan's body in the coffin at the funeral, and being struck immediately upon seeing his body lying there and having the distinct sense that Dan--his essence, his soul--no longer was there. The body there was just a shell. I also remember being so GLAD that the cancer was no longer tormenting him, giving him pain or absorbing his energy. The cancer was dead--dead--and Dan, Dan was still living! Praise the Lord!
Though it was hard to lose Dan, the loss of his life on earth was not as difficult, I believe, than other types of loss--a breaking of relationship or a family member who isn't walking with the Lord. Loss can happen in many ways. So though we "lost" Dan, we didn't really lose him. Praise the Lord for His precious promises that assure believers of the hope of heaven! In a very real sense, Dan is more alive today than he ever was on this earth!
So today, I'm remembering Dan, my brother, whom I loved.
Daniel James Roelofs
March 20, 1970-March 20, 2003.
**If you are interested in reading more of Dan's story, and excerpts from his journals and book, go to www.danroelofs.com