Sorry, He's Not Here

Heaven got a little happier this week. God made the call, and another angel went home. Marcus may have lost a small battle, but he won the war in the end. And what a war it was.

Please don’t be misled. Nobody that knew Marcus is all smiles and giggles today. There is pain, and there are tears. After all, even the most stoic of individuals would be moved in realizing that left behind are a beautiful wife and two young daughters. Two years of heart-wrenching struggle against an invisible enemy now give way to two little girls reaching deep within themselves to tell their daddy goodbye. Endless trips to the best oncologists in the world yield now to a wife and mother pulling herself up on faith alone to carry on as best she can. As she knows Marcus would want.

As she knows Marcus would demand.

I write as if I’m an authority. Truth be told, I met Marcus four times in my life. But I knew him well, if only vicariously. His wife and daughters were his canvas, and his brush strokes painted the essence of their lives. Seeing the masterpieces he helped create in them reveals the Marcus no one had to see or meet to know.

How it happened really isn’t all that important now. Wait, I take that back. How it happened is of the utmost importance. If not, then the struggle Marcus endured was inconsequential. And I’m quite certain a few individuals would argue that point in opposition.

It started with a mole.

Yes, a mole. No, not the digging kind known for destroying gardens.

It started with a mole, a skin blemish that had been around since Marcus was in diapers. Then came a diagnosis of melanoma. Treatments, complications, and infections followed in cycles for months thereafter, culminating in Marcus’s earthly passage. A simple story, right? One of thousands echoed in the halls of cancer treatment centers around the nation and around the world.

But, no, the real story is not of the medical variety. This, Marcus’s story, is a story of faith. Faith of a man. Faith of a wife. Faith of a family in something else unseen, but far more powerful than any cancer. Pure, unmoving, in-your-face-and-I-hope-you-like-it faith.

God was a constant in the life of Marcus and his family long before his diagnosis. But the tests of faith in the human existence come in the storms and battles of life, and most certainly their faith was (and is) tested. Though fragile, it held, and it stands strong still. Marcus’s weak and broken body may have expired. But his faith lives on.

It is too easy to fall into the trap of believing that the supplication of Marcus, of his wife and kids, of his family and his church, and of hundreds of people who felt called to pray for him in his plight has gone unnoticed or unanswered. The old “God is not there” trap. No, not true.

If you are one of the thousands of hits to Marcus’s wife’s weblog, you know that she and their children remained, through it all, undeterred. She prayed for healing, as did her blog’s followers. More importantly, she believed that healing would take place. Prayer, belief, repeat. The instruction manual of the Christian faith. But now? The toughest test of that faith has now arrived. The appeals for healing seem to have dissipated before falling on the ears of the One who saves. Or did they?

As I’m writing this, I’m looking out the front window of my home at a lily, planted in a corner of a flower bed next to our driveway. The lily was planted last year and fell victim to a series of freezes this winter. It is dead. Brittle and dead.

But a closer examination reveals a tiny shoot of green poking through the clump of dead stems and leaves. It is not dead! Almost as if spoken aloud by the plant itself, I hear the Gospel words of Luke describing the encounter of the women following the Resurrection:

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!"

This week, we celebrate the holiday that is foundation to the Christian faith. We also celebrate the life of a man who built his own home on that rock. To his wife and daughters, his earthly existence will be painfully missed. But their prayers have been answered. Marcus’s body is perfect. There is no cancer. He is healed. And he lives. It is tough to rejoice, but we must. We do not search among the dead for the living. We know where they reside.

Farewell, Marcus, my brother. I can’t wait to see you for the fifth time.


  1. thank you so much jeff for this loving tribute to my sweet Marcus. Much love to you, brandy and the kids.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts