Sunday, January 9, 2011

Even Forever

As it is written,
No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him --
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. 
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?
In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
I Corinthians 2:9-11

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9
Saturday I asked you to pray for our young friend, Daniel, after he was airlifted to the University of Michigan hospital. We were asking for a miracle. God answered our prayers in a way we didn't necessarily want or expect. But it's a miracle nevertheless. 

This post is in memory of Daniel Curtis Parker, a young man that God loved, God saved, God used, and now God has called home: August 27, 1986 - May 16, 2010.


We just aren't able to see the big picture. Sometimes we are left heartbroken and confused by circumstances beyond our control. But we have the express, written promise of God that we will be overwhelmed by what He has prepared for those who love Him.

Daniel Parker loved His God. And it showed. On the side margin of his facebook page he shared this quote:
The Word of the Lord has become for me ... derision all the day long. If I say, "I will not mention Him, or speak any more His name," there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
But Jeremiah 20:9 wasn't just a nice verse to put on facebook. Last summer Daniel spearheaded a Bible distribution effort in his hometown, compelled by a burning desire to see every single resident of Jonesville, Michigan, have their own copy of God's Word.

His love for God was also worked out... the way he prepared/shared messages occasionally at church the way he coached soccer the way he loved and obeyed his parents the way he interacted with his sister and six brothers the way he developed and maintained friendships the way he encouraged others with his actions and his words the way he used his gifts to write computer programs

The last thing he wrote on facebook Friday afternoon was:
I made this :) 
Following the link leads to the program Daniel recently developed, and for his bio he'd written:
I grew up in Jonesville, Michigan and started programming at the age of 12. I had figured I could build something to bring me a passive income -- we'll see if that ever happens. I've since realized I couldn't stop working hard to advance technology that helps people, even if I did have money. I'm a problem-solver at heart. All of my work is intended to show God's goodness -- even in programming. I try hard to put good logic into every line of code, looking to the God who is behind all logic. I lead a balanced and fulfilling life: I've played soccer for many years and coached over 6 seasons (one of them a local high school); I love bicycling fast and far; I sing; I like to teach; and of course, hang out with smart people. But it's all in the pleasurable service of God, who saved me and gave his life for me.
He never missed an opportunity to share his God!

That's been especially true the last few years. We watched Daniel grow up so I know whereof I speak.
His mom is one of my best friends, and she's been so good about staying in touch even though we're 6,000 miles apart. Newsy, almost weekly e-mails fly back-and-forth. Our kids are close, like family. My son and Daniel collaborated on computer projects and software development. The last photo we have of Daniel was from last Saturday when he drove all the way from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Winona Lake, Indiana, for Tina's graduation before turning around and heading back immediately for his brother's graduation from Hillsdale College.
Our church family at Countryside Bible is a tight-knit community and the kids are all really close -- like family. As news of the accident went out, folks got in their cars and headed to Ann Arbor. There was a strong presence of the Countryside family with the Parker family at all times, day and night, especially young people whose lives Daniel had profoundly touched. 

I wish I had some of my old photos to share from 'back in the day'. But we left all those in the U.S. Instead I've pulled some off facebook to share with you today.

I'd like to share something Daniel posted on facebook March 19th:
I am a sinner stuck in sin, no way to escape,
despising the One who made me,
even though He'll claim me back someday
to an eternity where I'll receive my due.
I am dead, but I also have life.

Why? Because God saw me and loved me,
and said, "That sinner shall I set free."
Yes, He loves me -
Jesus completed my eternal death
so that I could have his eternal life.

"Dead man walking" is how David Crowder puts it.
I am human, therefore in myself I am self-loving, which is death.
Life of my own no longer exists.
But since He died for me, I can now live for Him.

No longer bound for Hell,
because His favor is on me.
An amazing gift this is.
Un-asked for. Undeserved.

"The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing."
(Zephaniah 3:17)

God saved me because He loves me enough that He sings about me.
Can't wait to hear that song!
My goal for the next week, or two, or maybe lifetime,
or even forever,
is to uncover and realize more and more how much He loves me.
Daniel's goal for "even forever" has begun: he'll spend eternity uncovering and realizing more and more how much his God loves him.
Daniel Curtis Parker
1986 - 2010
PRAY for Daniel's dad and mom, his sister and six brothers. PRAY for the Countryside family. For Daniel "to die is gain" but for the rest of us, we mourn his absence. We celebrate his life, a life lived abundantly PRAY also for the organ recipients whose lives will improve immeasurably and possibly even be extended by the generosity of a young man who wrote "I am dead, but I also have life" just weeks ago without realizing he'd be able to give the gift of life to others through his own death.

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