The Book of Job in the Bible tells the story of a man called Job; he was a man of God, and God allowed the devil to put Job through a series of trials. Through it all Job trusted God and he refused to insult God. Job's friends disagreed with Job's attitude. They did not think that God would allow an innocent person to suffer. They thought God was punishing Job. Job suffered and God taught him through his suffering. He learned that death is not the end, that God is good and fair and just. Job showed the love of God to his friends through his suffering. They saw God because of him. God restored Job. God was glorified.
This morning, a dear brother went to be with our Lord. His name is Christian Schmidt, and he was 21. I grew up with him and his family in our church; his brother and I are the same age. The Schmidt family is a family of great faith, and they were always serving in our church and at the schools. They constantly gave of themselves to serve others and share the light of Christ in this dark world. Christian's desire was to become a pastor one day and share the Word with the world. His freshman year of college at Mississippi College, he was diagnosed with a rare cancer that rocked their family's world, but not their faith. He was able to finish out the first semester and came home the second to start some aggressive treatments. Through it all he sought to keep Christ first and glorify our Father with his attitude and actions. Many things have happened in the past 2 years of his illness. He had some good news, as well as lots of bad news. He completed more classes, had many more treatments, loved on his family and friends, and was supported and encouraged through lots of prayer. For the most part, he was without pain for the 2 years which I praise God for. God took that pain from him so the he could continue to do the work that God had planned for him. God allowed these trials to burden his body, but not his heart, mind, or soul. God gave him the strength to complete the tasks that He had set before Christian. When Christian found out about the cancer, he went straight to work to make our Father KNOWN among our town, county, state, nation, as well as internationally. He had such a wonderful and powerful testimony and I'm so thankful that he had the strength and boldness to share his love for our amazing Father. Christian wrote sermons to pass his time. He studied the Word and spent time with our Father. He knew that he may not make it through this trial but made sure that he could leave parts of his his heart and his faith in our Father for others to see and read. Weekly, even daily, he would post a note on Facebook, and eventually started his own blog. A student at the University of Alabama decided to do a documentary on Christian's life, another way to spread the Gospel and Christian's testimony. Christian's fight ended this morning. His battle is over. He was victorious. Christ was victorious. Christian was a true example of what it means "to live is Christ, to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21). If only we were all so bold. I cannot say that I understand why this happened to Christian, but if it's anything like Job's situation, it's because God knew that Christian would prevail through Christ and ultimately bring Him glory.
Please pray with me for the Schmidt family. They have been through so much in the past few years, and I pray that blessings surround them for raising a young man such as Christian. Christian was a blessing and an inspiration to all those who knew him.
To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen.
To read Christian's goodbye and all of his other sermons, click HERE.
And we also lost another brother today, Nick Bell, a football player from Mississippi State. I do not know much of his story, but he also battled cancer. Please be in prayer for the Bell family as well.