A year ago today, we were in South Dakota getting ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Brian’s family, completely unaware that hundreds of miles away in Clearwater, Florida, my Uncle Kevan was living his last day on this earth. My dad called me first thing on New Year’s Day to inform me that Uncle Kevan, one of his baby brothers, had passed into eternity sometime Monday evening, completely unexpectedly. I was never able to compose myself enough last year in order to write anything about him. But, it’s been a year now and he’s on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I would just share with you a little about this man.
- I remember being completely terrified of him as a kid. He had long hair and was loud and crazy. He grew on me, though. 🙂
- Uncle Kevan never married and he always seemed content with his singleness.
- He laughed all. the. time. Nothing was ever serious with him. Ever! It was hard to have a serious conversation with him. Which is very uncharacteristic of Ribbles if you know my family at all.
- He was everyone’s favorite uncle. He was the life of the party, always picking on everyone and telling jokes and just being… Kevan. He made it to our weddings and remembered big events in our lives. He kept up with each of his nieces and nephews and knew what we were up to. He was very personable and so loving.
- He was a news junky. His favorite thing to do was sit in his recliner, surrounded by newspapers, his laptop open and searching Fox News, with the TV tuned in to Fox News. Okay, so he was a Fox News junky and a pure Republican through and through!
- The only thing he loved more than family and news was the Lord. He was a man of unwavering integrity. He studied Scripture constantly and was always up for a good discussion on doctrine and theology. He lived his faith. There was never any doubt about his beliefs.
- He had a rare disease that took the strength from his hands and arms. We never noticed as kids, but as we grew up and his disease worsened, we saw that his hands were slowly shriveling and his arms had no strength. He had to take early disability, which really just enabled him to watch more news 🙂 , but I don’t remember him ever complaining about this “disability.” I’m sure it made life incredibly difficult, but he never talked about it, never mentioned it, never had a “pity party” or tried to get out of work because of it.
We don’t know why God chose to take him so early. It was unexpected and inexplicably sad. But… he’s with God. He’s in the place he had talked about, imagined, studied, and dreamed of for years. He’s finally whole. And we’ll see him again.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died…For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. -1Thess. 4:13-14, 16-18 (emphasis mine)
Nope, we certainly don’t “grieve like people who have no hope.” I am so incredibly grateful for the hope of salvation and the secure knowledge that we will see him again! This is hope! It is okay to be sad and to miss him greatly – but at least we know it’s not the end. And who knows – maybe 2014 will be the year that Christ does come back with a shout! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.