Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Memorial Tribute to a Dear Brother -- Dave Hahn

At approximately 7:45 AM this morning, our dear friend and brother Dave Hahn stepped into what I like to call, “phase 2 of eternal life.” Our heavenly glory - that future glory that awaits all believers who have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation. It is as real a place as anything ever known – a place where we are more alive than we are today – spiritually alive, spiritually complete, morally perfect and fully aware of being in the Lord’s presence. For Paul said that to be “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

Dave had an extensive battle with cancer, much more extensive than we would have liked. The way he died has had an effect on all of us, in more ways than one. First, no one would ever pick to have something that is slow and drawn out. But even though Dave passed this way, it truly gave him a platform to speak to so many people about the love of God in Christ. There is a mountain of people who came across this man who are now changed for life because of his love and testimony. We have no idea how many people have been touched for eternity simply by seeing this man stare at the face of death with confidence and assurance of his eternal destiny because of his Christian faith.

Perhaps one of the most healthy and most powerful expressions of faith amidst the dying process came when Dave spoke in our church several months ago, sitting comfortably in a lounge chair on the stage, telling us what it was like to “get one’s house in order” while trusting in God who heals or carries us to heaven, whichever it may be. Dave’s counsel, advice, experience, and blunt honesty had a huge impact on so many. He talked of things that we don’t normally speak of, things that are often “uncomfortable” for us. He said what we all thought and wondered about, and when the time was done, he played his favorite song over the loudspeakers and sat there with his hands in the air in a spirit of worship. There was not a dry eye in the house.

Truth be known – Dave was a fighter. He was a self-avowed “analytical warrior” when it came to the medical side of his cancer fight. Just the other day, in some of final moments of lucid conversation, he told me that the dying process has been fascinating for him – calling it “Dave Hahn’s Great Scientific Experiment.” He had a real sense of humor and was refreshingly transparent. He always wanted to remain conscious for as long as he could so that he could track what was happening to his body. It wasn’t until the very last weeks that he finally agreed to some pain medication.

Always the picture of health, Dave enjoyed the study of nutrition. This is why his passing is so puzzling for us – Dave wasn’t careless with his health. He wasn’t overweight. He didn’t smoke. He exercised and took care of his body. And yet cancer invaded him anyway. Humanly speaking, we have many questions with little answers. But cancer is no respecter of persons. Our response is to put our trust in God, who numbers our days and holds our lives in His sovereign hands. We consider it a blessing from God that He gave us 49 years with Dave Hahn.

Dave’s life and death has brought us together. It has put things in perspective. We have seen a church family come together to rally around a family in need. We have been drawn into prayer as God’s people. We have seen many use their spiritual gifts to minister to his family. The love that has been expressed in so many ways is a true reflection of Christ’s love spilling out of this wonderful church. What do people do without a church family? I have no idea. This is what it’s all about. God has raised up many who have stepped forward to care for Dave. His small group, his many friends and family, you name it. Oh, how we’ve loved one another.

On Tuesday Dave and I talked about what the final moments would be like. We speculated on the fact that perhaps there will be angels that may come to usher him to glory. What would he see? How would he feel? All these were things we pondered, considering all the Scripture says and more. A glorious thought – seeing the face of Jesus. Joining the “great cloud of witnesses,” to the place where “the souls of righteous men have been made perfect” (Heb. 12:23). It’s a heavenly Jerusalem. It’s not our final place. For there will be a day when the Lord returns to earth with his angels and those like Dave who have gone before us, and there will be a resurrection body granted to Dave that will be immortal. And then glorification will be complete in the fullest sense.

Oh Lord, haste the day! It won’t be long beloved. Mind you, there are “birth pangs” to this world right now, and soon our Lord will come.

I will miss Dave. We all will. It is still for us to care for his beautiful wife and daughter, a privilege we will take seriously, I know. Faith allows us to grieve, but we do not grieve like those who have no hope. Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over death. Therefore, it is a sad day and a day of victory all wrapped into one. Finally, one more story.

The story is told of a young man by the name of William Dyke, who at the age of 10 went blind. Yet even though he was blind, William went on to be a very intelligent, witty, and handsome man. He attended graduate school in England, and he met the daughter of an English Admiral, and he fell in love.

The two were engaged. He had never seen his future wife’s face, but he loved her very much. Right before they were to be married, a new treatment was developed that could possibly reverse William’s blindness.

In a rather unusual request, William decided that he did not want the gauze from the treatment removed from his eyes until the wedding ceremony was in full swing. If the treatment worked, the first thing he wanted to see was his new bride’s face.

As the bride came down the aisle, William’s father began to unwind the gauze from his head and eyes – still not knowing whether the operation was a success. When the last piece of gauze was removed from his eyes, William blinked several times and then looked into the face of his new bride for the first time.

And his first words were, “You are more beautiful than I ever imagined.”

I can imagine that this is what Dave felt the very moment he stepped into his heavenly dwelling and saw the face of his Savior for the very first time. And I can hear him humming his favorite song, “some glad morning when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away. To a home on God’s celestial shore…I’ll fly away.”

Dave, yes indeed, that “glad morning” was this very morning. We’ll see you soon brother. We love you.

PS 27:4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

1 comment:

Marianne said...

Thanks Eric for this wonderful tribute to Dave. . . He was an amazing testimony of the grace and mercy of our GREAT GOD. . . Sometimes the ultimate healing is in the arms of our Savior. Dave is now free from pain and one can "only imagine" what Heaven must be like. . . So until the rapture or until God takes us home, it is "SO LONG" Dave, until we meet again. . . Love in Him, The Montzka Family. . .