A Loving Example
This week, I have had the privilege of spending some time with one of my former youth group “kids” and his beautiful family. Greg Nunley was in the first youth group I led as a student minister who was still wet from the baptistery. That group is forever notched in my ever-failing memory, because I honestly relied 100% on God to get me through leading that group. I was too “dumb” to do anything else.
30 years later, I have learned much about “doing ministry,” but honestly, that group at Westwood Christian Church taught me more than I could have dreamed of teaching them. I still have regular contact with several members of that group, and yeah, they all know that they are still “my kids.”
About nine months ago, Greg found out that he has an aggressive form of lymphoma. He has undergone numerous treatments, but it appears that his time walking on this earth is drawing to a close. Greg and his wife Stacy have seven children raninging in age from 7 to 17.
Although it had literally been decades since Greg and I had seen each other, and although I had never met Stacy or any of the children, they immediately took me in as family from the instant I walked through their door. (I guess I DID teach Greg a thing or two after all).
Greg is a minister of the Gospel of Christ, and has served in several smaller, mostly rural congregations. This beautiful, loving family has moved on numerous occasions, but shows a resiliency not often seen today. Perhaps it was one way God has been preparing them for the road that lies ahead.
This family is a loving example of Christ to all with whom they come in contact. They openly talk about their faith in God, their love for Christ and for each other, and they openly talk about their journey with Greg through the battle against lymphoma. They do not shy away from the fact that Greg will not be with them on this planet much longer. Greg leads from his quiet strength that I first saw in him as a teenager. His love for the Lord has not wavered, and he continues living his life one day at a time for Jesus. He was like that long before lymphoma came around, and he is living that way in the face of this horrible disease. There is no hint of bitterness or questioning from Greg (nor was there from Stacy or the kids). We all agree that we would desire for this disease to just go away, but this family is a loving example of trusting that God has this.
How refreshing my time spent with Greg and his beautiful family has been for me this week. How I long to be a source of encouragement and strength for this family I love so dearly. I pray that they know they are “stuck” with me now. More importantly, I pray that Stacy and the children will take comfort in knowing that God loves them. Period. God wants them to continue to be vessels of praise for Him. I pray that God will protect their hearts through the very tough days ahead, just as He has through the tough days they have experienced over the past nine months. May they remember that every day is a gift from God. May they know that life on this planet is not the “be all, end all.” May they long to be in the Presence of Jesus so they can be reunited with their Dad and Stacy’s husband again some day.
Nearly 30 years ago (the exact date is in question, since Greg did NOT date this), Greg did a caricature of Don Boswell and me at Westwood Christian church. Yeah, I am the guy in the van with the mustache, Maia!
This has hung in my office for nearly three decades. It reminds me that the rock foundation of Jesus is what we must build upon. Greg, Stacy, and their children are a loving, living example of that. I am SO GLAD that I got to spend this time with them. I am SO GLAD for the love we share through Jesus. I implore everyone who reads this to keep Greg, Stacy and their children in prayer. Thank you for doing so.