Last night, I battled an incredible wave of discouragement. In my work, it can seem to come out of nowhere and catch me off guard. I am called so often to pour myself out for others and, when these dark times come, I find myself asking, “Who encourages those called to be an encourager?” I have found only two effective remedies for these experiences:
- Prayer based on Psalm 62:8 and Hebrews 4:14-16 and
- Sleep — deep sleep.
Gratefully, these remedies prepare me to walk in God’s strength and joy the next day.
But it’s not unusual during these times for me to feel strongly burden to pray for certain people. Last night, providentially, I felt deeply compelled to pray for the Hassel family. What I did not realize at the time is that today, five years ago, my dear friend, Dr. Mark Hassel was called to leave this earth and enter glory. At an unimaginable young age and at the peak of a successful medical career, Mark ended a courageous battled with cancer leaving behind a wife and three precious children. I wrote about his story here and here.
Mark was an inspiring person. At the memorial gathering for his life, I summarized the way Mark lived with 7 vignettes that continue to inspire me each time I revisit them.
- Live Fully (Colossians 3:23)
- Laugh often (Proverbs 17:22)
- Love creation (Psalm 19:1)
- Serve others (Galatians 5:13)
- Suffer courageously (James 1:12)
- Be faithful (Matthew 25:23)
- Love God (Matthew 22:37-39)
Today, I closed a letter to Mark’s wife with these words:
“Missing my dear friend, Mark. Yet anticipating with even greater clarity a reunion in a place where there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.”
Just an under-shepherd of the Chief Shepherd serving by the strength of His grace,