31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-35, 37-39, New International Version)
As I write this it is Sunday afternoon. After a joyful first Sunday at Perritte Memorial UMC, I was talking with a few people in my new congregation and Cindy’s telephone rang. It was my niece. By hearing Cindy’s end of the conversation I knew something was wrong.
What I thought I was hearing proved to be correct. My brother-in-law had suddenly passed away. We are never ready for these kind of things but they happen. They happen to all of us.
Victor Campbell was one of the good guys. It hadn’t always been that way. Victor would be the first to tell you he was a recovering alcoholic whose misdeeds while drinking had put him in prison. But he got it together and became a man of great faith.
He was an astute student of the Bible. He studied regularly and in depth. He and I had several theological and Scriptural discussions over the years. We might not always agree but we did always respect one another’s perspective.
Vic was a man of prayer. If there was a special prayer need, I could call Vic or my sister and ask for prayer. I knew there were a couple of people in central Texas praying for whatever the need might be.
When Vic married Brenda, the two were both strong in faith and prayer. Their’s was a great relationship with God and each other.
Victor also understood that he needed a life partner who was a woman of faith. He found that in my sister. Brenda’s faith has always been strong. She has always been a strong person of faith. Vic saw that in her too.
I was honored to officiated their wedding. Last week Cindy and I were talking. She asked me if I remembered how long Brenda and Vic had been married. I said, “I don’t know, 10 years or so.” I was wrong. They were married 18 years. It doesn’t seem that long ago.
He was a man who helped however he could for the people around him. When she has needed it, my Mom was able to call on him for help since we lost my dad a few years back. Living hours away, I have always been thankful he was there.
No matter how well, or how long we know someone, at times like this we learn something new about them. Before I started writing this I went out on my sister’s Facebook page searching for a picture of Victor to use here. I found the one above. I never knew Vic played the guitar until I saw that picture. During the midst of the quarantine he led his family in an Easter Sunrise service, including leading the music himself.
Victor was also a business man. He started his own dry-wall business before he and Brenda married. He worked hard at being fair to his customers and provide them with good service. Vic didn’t do the day to day dry wall work anymore. He had crews for that, but he knew his business and bid the jobs so his crews made money and so did he. Sometimes strong honest business men are hard to find. There is one less today.
The Scripture above is my favorite in all the Bible. “What can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus?” To paraphrase Paul, not a blessed thing. I don’t know if my sister will read this or not. She has much more on her mind than what her brother puts on his blog right now. Still, nothing will separate Victor from the Love of God in Christ Jesus, not even death itself. Nothing will separate Brenda from the Love of God in Christ Jesus, not even Victor’s death. As she walks through the days ahead she has her family to walk with her but most importantly the Holy Spirit walks with her, God walks with her. She can lean on us, but she needs to remember that she can lean on God too.
When any of us face losses like my family faces this weekend with Victor’s death, we need to remember that nothing separates us from the love of God. We have our families to lean on. We have people of faith to lean on. We have God who is ready to hold us tight and walk us through this dark valley.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved