I was a Youth Pastor in Memphis, TN for a number of years. While I thought I was there to simply love on teenagers, I quickly discovered that I was there for much more. I learned so much that shaped me into much of the Husband, Father, Coach, and Pastor that I am today. While I didn’t fully understand many of the relationships that I was building until after I left, I became family with many…all through relationships! Ironically for a Youth Pastor, many of these relationships were with couples old enough to be my grandparents. Talk about bridging the generation gap!
In all of that, as hard as it was to say good-bye to students that graduated and went to college, it was and has been really hard to say good-bye to “Seniors” in their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Since we left Memphis in 2010, many of our “Seniors” have left this earth to go be with Jesus in heaven! Today (Thursday 8-28-14), I received news that one of my “Seniors” passed away at 8:30 this morning. Benny Welch is now in Heaven! After many years of battling cancer, getting older, and other ailments, he is finally walking without shortness of breath. He is running with his dogs in heaven’s fields, and, Ms. Mary––he’s getting YOUR mansion ready with Jesus!
As I contemplate this eternal graduation, my heart is filled with so many thoughts and whispers. None of these are as poignant and truth-filled as the old Audio Adrenaline song, “Rest Easy!” (Click to watch the YouTube Video of this song.) It is on repeat this morning because I know that several hours ago, Benny heard Jesus say…
Rest easy, have no fear;
I love you perfectly, and perfect love drives out fear.
I’ll take your burden, you take My grace;
Rest easy, in My embrace.
Rest easy, rest easy, rest easy, in My embrace;
Benny – Rest easy.
Benny, thanks for impacting this young man to work hard, love hard, and give tirelessly! Thanks for making me laugh! Thanks for the catfish and prime rib! Thank you for being the blessing you were to my family and my life! Thank you for showing me how to love without promise of return or reward! Thank you for showing me the love the Father has for all of us in how you cared for and loved your wife Mary! Benny, I Love You Friend! Rest Easy!