Thursday, August 18, 2011

Arise My Love

Can you guess whose eyes these are?

This past Saturday, my Valleydale family lost a member of one of our own, Rob Murray.  I could not find it within myself to write about his passing immediately after finding out.  I found out after dinner on Saturday, and we were shocked.  I'm not sure his official title, but he was our staff recreational director, and Daniel worked with him for Upward Basketball every year.  I simply could not sleep the night after finding out.  I tossed and turned.  Rob died at the age of 56 of a massive heart attack.  My own dad died of a massive heart attack two weeks shy of his 56th birthday.  I felt the sting of Rob's loss and the remembrance of my own loss.

Every one had something great to say about Rob. He was known as the face of Valleydale. Many tributes have been written to and about Rob already (see links at the bottom of this post), and I will not do that any justice. I did not know Rob like they did. What I do know is that he served our church tremendously; he was funny, happy, smiling face that greeted people on their way into the church. It was evident that he loved God and loved people.  Normally I would share some thoughts of comfort and encouragement, but that's not how I feel led today.

What I believe is that any time someone dies it is a wake up call to the living dead.  It seems as though there has been a lot of loss at Valleydale recently.  And I believe God is calling us as a church to wake up from the dead and rise.  His voice has gently been calling us, and at times we've been hitting the snooze button.  We keep sleep walking as though we haven't heard the alarm.  In the future the alarm may not be as gentle, so we need not ignore the alarm and go back to sleep.

Nikol and I are writing the material for the women's retreat at Valleydale in January.  The call we sensed is a call to wake up. {Can I just say how thrilling it is to watch God work?}.  It is a call to Arise, My Love, Arise: Awake, Aware, Alive!  He looks at us tenderly as He did Lazarus and He weeps.  He longs to bring us back to life, to heal us, to restore us, and set us free.  I believe He has a special plan and purpose for Valleydale, but it cannot be achieved until we wake up.  Maybe He is calling you to wake up as you read this.

What He wants from us are hearts hungry and thirsty for all of Him, not just a drop of Him, but all of Him.  He wants us to long for Him so that He can fill us up to capacity and overflow out of each of us.  He will wake us up.  He will work through us.  Our part is simply desiring Him, wanting Him, wanting to experience Him, and obediently giving ourselves as He asks, not because we can or we should, but because He is good, and He has graciously brought us back to life.  What He does not want is to heal us as He did the 10 lepers and have only one come back to praise and thank Him (Luke 17:11-19); He wants us seeking Him wholeheartedly to overflowing to service and His work.

Will you respond to God's call and honor Rob and the saints who have passed on before by waking up?  Or will you sit back and hit the snooze button?  And if you arise, will you honor the One who set you free with all your praise and thanksgiving?  This my friends is how we will fill in the gap (see Rhett's tribute).

Arise, My Love, Arise.

Tributes to Rob:
Shelby County Reporter
Rhett Barnett
David Dollar
Nikol Whitten
Valleydale Blog
and many more facebook statuses and perhaps many others I have not seen - feel free to post a link in the comments section.

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