A young man in my community passed away this morning. I didn’t really know him, though I may have met him at some point seeing as we had several friends in common and ran in some of the same circles. I’ve been following his journey through social media for a few months and now at its end I’m caught in what I can only describe as awe.
His story came to my attention when I heard of a local young man who was fighting cancer who had been granted a wish from the Make A Wish foundation and had chosen to give his wish away. You see he wanted to go on a mission trip, but was aware that he wouldn’t live long enough to do so, so he chose instead to give the cash amount to a local church food distribution program, it happened to be the one at my church, it happened to be the one I’ve gone to for food myself many times, he gave his wish away, and I was one of those who benefited.
This was incredibly humbling to me, but what was even more beautiful was the attitude I saw demonstrated as I continued to watch his story unfold. Andrew had no fear of death, he was happy, he was at peace, he was eager to see Jesus. Through his life drawing to a close I was watching scripture come to life.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-21
In Andrew Rundle, I saw this verse walked out. He was young, and could have resented the years he would not have here, but he didn’t. You see for him his life’s purpose was to bring God glory, and if he could do that with his death, then he was eager to do so.
I’m going to just put out some scripture here, I want you to read over them, let them soak in.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Luke 9:24
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. WE always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:35-36,42-44a
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27
The world would look on this story and only see defeat, misery, death, a life snuffed out by cancer before its time. In the worlds eyes that is what we see, but it isn’t what is. Andrew wanted more then anything to be a testimony for Christ. I don’t know why he got cancer, I don’t know if it was simply because we live in a fallen world where sickness and disease happen, or if it was some plan of Satan to silence a voice, but I do know that nothing about his passing was a defeat, he did not lose a battle with cancer.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24
He didn’t lose. He finished the race. He testified to God’s grace with every breath.
His life declared this message:
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
What power? Oh dear friend. The power of God! The power of life! The only One who can take our worst circumstances and transform them. In this life God took the ashes and death, and He’s made beauty and life.
Satan probably thought that such a death was a victory for him, but of course Satan has made that mistake before. He thought he’d won when he got Jesus on the cross, it was his moment of complete defeat.
I don’t really know how to describe the beauty that I see right now, the awe in which I am held. I only hope that you can see it. Although my heart is held in prayer over his friends and family and the grief they must be feeling a part of me is so humbled in worship and wants to cheer, because Andrew finished his race, and he finished it WELL. That is much more then many will ever be able to say. Andrew is victorious.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
I’m asking any who read this blog to keep Andrew Rundle’s family in prayer. I also ask that you think about what it means to have the hope that Andrew had. Contemplate what it means. If you want this same hope and life its readily available to you. Just reach out to Jesus. He wants to exchange death for life in you, and then death has no power over you. He is a God who can take every grief and create something beautiful. He wants to do this in you.
Andrew’s Make A Wish Video.