The picture above was taken during the funeral for Eric Petrus. Eric was a friend of mine for many years. We’re the same age. Eric battled cancer for over a 3rd of his life.
And he won.
He has finally been healed by God. The struggle is over, and cancer will never cause an ounce of pain or grief for him ever again. He is home.
As I sat through his funeral, I watched the most vivid example of the “peace that surpasses all comprehension” displayed through Ken Petrus at his son’s funeral. That is Ken on the right side of the picture praying over the hundreds of people in attendance. For those in attendance, it was a remarkable display of composure and peace.
It’s much more than he didn’t break out into weeping like most people would. That wouldn’t have made his message a failure. Grieving is not evil. It was his honesty and hope that spoke volumes.
As the video chronicling Eric’s life played on the screen, my vantage point allowed me to see the family’s reactions. As baby pictures come up of this young man, everyone in the family (and close to everyone in the room) began to weep. It was sad. The reality was hitting us in that moment.
But as I sat and prayed, I watched something happen with the family. They continued to cry as they watched, but the tears changed. I watched Ken choke up over the loss of his son, and then in one moment, I saw his disposition change. He continued to cry, but he cried not as a father missing his son, but as a father who was so very proud of his son. A father’s joy swept over his face and I felt like I could almost read in his eyes, “That’s my boy! I am so proud of him. He fought and he fought well.”
Are there spiritual analogies here? Absolutely. Does our Heavenly Father beam with joy over his children? No doubt. He feels our pain and yet his joy carries us through.
And I think that it is his joy that allows Eric’s father and mother, wife, sister and brother, friends and families to miss Eric without missing cancer. I am thankful that he doesn’t have to deal with some of the effects of sin’s curse on this world.
Many have asked how the family is doing. They are doing as well as any Christian family should do when they lose a loved one.
They are grieving, but they are grieving well.
There will be moments of deep sadness and tears that will accompany them for the rest of their lives. Some days will be harder than others. But they are thankful to Jesus for giving them 31 years. They are thankful that Jesus saved and eventually healed their loved one. And they are counting themselves blessed to have loved him and been loved by him. Their hope is in Christ, and so while tears come, hope prevails.
Hope always prevails. Peace on display.