Loss is something that’s part of life. We lose things, relationships end, and people die.
Being deprived of the presence of those you love and value is the most challenging of losses. Another dear friend has passed away; grief is such an unwanted visitor.
My friend Steve Douglass was an incredible man. When we first met him almost 35 years ago, he was vice president of our organization. He soon moved into the position of president. He was a man with a lot of responsibility, yet his passion was people. His mission was to help others learn of the hope that comes from knowing Jesus personally.
He came up with creative ideas on how to share his faith because he cared deeply for people and couldn’t let a chance go by to help someone for eternity. He never bypassed an opportunity to talk of his love for Jesus, whether with the person next to him on a plane or sitting across from him at Chick-fil-A.
Steve was the ultimate strategist. Having played basketball but never soccer, he nonetheless tackled the job of coach for a soccer team that his daughter and ours played on. His heart of encouragement had him calling every member of his team the night before the game to help them understand what they should be focused on the next day.
Steve never did anything halfway.
He and his wife Judy had always been a couple I wanted to emulate. Their love for each other, their commitment to the strengths of one another, and their hearts to see each other succeed in their particular areas of ministry made them strong and resilient. More powerful together than separately.
They had two daughters and a son, each with their own unique personality and talents. Each of them was a hard worker who learned much from their parents about the value of love and responsibility. Steve embraced his children with passion and encouragement.
To me, Steve was a boss, a mentor, and a friend. He was one of those men full of character and integrity whom I looked up to as an example of living a full and meaningful life. A man not only of great faith but great courage and perseverance.
He didn’t settle for mediocre. He never “just got by”.
We all have an Achilles heel that will be our undoing in this life, and for Steve, it was cancer. But the death of his body is not his end, for Steve’s hope was in what was to come, an eternity in the presence of his God.
The apostle John, as he spoke of his great revelation of the coming of heaven, said,
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be NO MORE death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:3-4
My dear friend now awaits those he knew and loved who know Jesus to join him. A reunion that will have no end.
It truly has been Steve’s most excellent adventure.