Throughout my life, when a storm has tossed me into a heap, and I don’t know which way is up, I think about my anchor people. You know, those people whose lives refute the lies that the enemy uses our circumstances to convince us to believe. Like: You’re not loved. You’re not good enough. You can’t ever trust again…they will fail you every time. There’s no such thing as a “happy marriage”. Fill in your blank here with whatever the enemy has railed at you. I’m sure you know the tape. But that’s when I think of my “Anchor People”.
Anchor People- Those people whose lives defy those lies. Those people, who although imperfect, demonstrate the heart of God to me in ways so genuinely that even when I’m up-side-down, I can grab ahold of the truth their lives testify to: That God is good.
The Bible talks about “The Great Cloud of Witnesses” who have gone on before us. Their time here on this earth is over, and they have beheld the face of Jesus. So beautiful- So much more beautiful than our earthly minds could comprehend. Nor can we comprehend how greatly they must anticipate the day when we join them there. So just like a group of people cheering a runner on as they fight to cross a finish line, they now cheer us on- Heavenward.
Well the crowd in our cloud just got bigger.
Growing up, we attended church with the Burns family. Don and Irene had 9 children of their own- two beautiful daughters and 7 rambunctious, fun-loving boys. The more the merrier I suppose, because they added to their number 2 more boys who needed a home. And merry they were. I don’t remember a time when I ever set foot in that house and someone wasn’t making music. I loved hearing Don play the sax and claronet in church. They even built a recording studio in their big old country home where any one of the boys could jump on whatever instrument was handy; kind of like a football player that could cover any position on the field. And they were, and still are, good. Really good. Lots of music rang out from the walls of their home.
So did laughter. The stories this family can tell. They should be written in a book. Oh wait. They were. Irene wrote one. Her boys call it her giant tract. (Some of you remember those.) It was all about their family. And Jesus.
Irene teaching some of her (many) grandchildren about the Prodigal Son, using the same story board she used to tell me this story when she was my Sunday school teacher. Don in the background with his faithful dog.
You don’t have a conversation with Irene without experiencing the love of Jesus. Not the “pushed-on-you” kind; More like the “melt on you like warm honey” kind that overflows from a heart that is so full of His love, it can’t be contained there. I’ve never known a more joyful and loving soul. When you are around Irene, you know Jesus loves you. She’ll make sure of it. Like the police officer and coroner who visited their home this morning.
Don, never without his fantastic sense of humor and faithful dog, at one of their famous “porch parties” two summers ago, when I saw them last.
Don, 85, and the dear love of her life, went to sleep last night and woke up beholding the face of Jesus. I can only imagine the celebratory welcome he received from our Father for the life he so well-lived. And what was Irene doing? Telling the police officer and coroner about her Jesus. Yep. Imagine.
Don and Irene on the front porch of their home where they raised a family that was a “very special family” to everyone who knew them.
This is what I mean when I say anchor people. And I’m So. Very. Thankful. for their lives, so well-lived that they are among those in my life whose influence refutes the lies the enemy reels and testifies to the truth of God’s love and mercy, throwing kindling on the ashes when my hope’s flame has nearly been snuffed out.
And although I grieve (for myself and their family who in this case, feels like mine-my brother was lucky enough to marry one of those beautiful girls) when they enter their reward, I’m inspired to keep running. They set the bar high, but prove it can be done. We can keep running; Keep loving; Keep trusting; Keep giving; Keep believing; Keep hoping…in Jesus: The author and finisher of our faith. How grateful I am to God for not only telling me of his love for me in his Word, but for being so generous as to put anchors like Don and Irene in my life who demonstrate it well.
Well done Don Burns. And thank you. We miss you already. What a day of rejoicing it must be.
Click below to hear Don (on his sax) and his son Dave (guitar) perform “Above All”.