Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Heaven's Newest Resident
It’s been 24 hours since we received the phone call to return to the Fowler’s residence, Rick somehow choking out the words that the passing of his wife, Donna, seemed imminent and perhaps immediate. It had been but a couple of hours since we had left them. In fact, we had spent much of the warm Monday at their house. In the morning, holding a prayer vigil for Donna with several faith-filled members of the Cornerstone family. In the afternoon and into the evening, Karlene and I sat at Donna’s bedside praying for her and reading the Bible to her.
Karlene, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, quoted the entire 23rd Psalm, adamantly testifying “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” What a comforting and powerful promise that Psalm provides. I opened the Bible and began to read several passages, but was especially drawn to the 91st Psalm -- specifically to verses 11 and 12 in which God “shall give his angels charge over you… In their hands they shall bear you up.” As I read that part of the Psalm, I stopped and reiterated those words over again.
That had been about two hours earlier. We pulled up in front of the house moments after we received a second call apprising us that Donna was gone. The entire family was standing outside in the driveway. Karlene and I hugged, loved, and comforted the family as best we could.
Upon regaining their composure, Rick and Jeff, (Donna’s son), rehearsed the final moments with Donna. With both of them kneeling on each side of her, Donna reached-out and feebly embraced each of them. She then lifted her hands in the air toward heaven -- amidst the prayers and tears -- and breathed her last breath in this life. The angels of God were there. They had been there but now it was their time to take charge. They tenderly lifted her in their arms and carried her home.
It is only in these incredible home-going moments that we begin to understand what the Psalmist meant when he penned these words, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).
Donna Fowler is a saint of God. Right now, she lives on in the presence of the Lord. She is pain-free, suffering-free, and trouble-free. The Bible gives us insight into the hereafter, as the apostle Paul claims to be absent from the body is to be “present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). He also promotes that to be present with the Lord is far better than this earthly life.
In this “earthly life” Donna lived for Jesus Christ. I have known Donna for most of my life. She was a prayer warrior – an intercessor – even leading that important ministry at Cornerstone Christian Center. She and Rick also ran the Missions Ministry at the church for several years. The international flags in the sanctuary were purchased and installed by them. The prayer room was redesigned and made-over with a Missions emphasis by them. She had a heart after God and was happy to do work for God.
Donna was an incredible Christian and a faithful supporter of Karlene and I throughout our ministry. During one of the darkest, most trying times of our pastorate -- when nearly 60% of the congregation left us in a matter of weeks -- it was Donna who stepped before us in the prayer room on a Sunday morning when we felt like lost and broken failures. She physically lifted up our arms and vociferously prayed in the Spirit, prophesying over us and over the work of God that we were to do at the “new” Cornerstone.
She would call Karlene or myself from time to time, just to give us an encouraging word from the Lord. It always seemed so timely, because it always was timely. She would even come by the house to share a word or a gift that had to be made personally, not publicly. She wasn’t looking for recognition, she was just following her heart – and touching ours. She provided us vitamins – literally and spiritually.
Even through her valiant fight with cancer she remained faithful to God and His house. Up to the very end, though dealing with great pain and much difficulty, she faithfully attended Sunday Celebrations and Wednesday Night LIFT. She even went to visit those who were in the hospital to pray with them. Her body may have been ravaged by that insidious interloper, but her Spirit never could or would be.
I never will forget her. We never will forget her. How can we? She has left an indelible impression upon the entire body of Christ at Cornerstone and beyond. The lives she touched, the friends she made, the prayers she prayed, the betterment she brought, and the life she lived continues on as her legacy.
To paraphrase one of the greatest presidential speeches that I have ever heard spoken… “We will never forget her, nor the last time we saw her, before she slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”
The good news is that we shall see her again. In heaven for that’s where she now resides. And when we see her again, I’m sure that she will be walking around with her hands raised, worshiping around the throne just like she worshiped around Cornerstone… faithfully, thankfully and joyfully.
Heaven's newest resident entered her brand-new home Monday night, June 30th, 2008 at 9:30pm.
Heaven's newest resident -- forever our friend, faithful to the end.
Heaven’s newest resident -- a genuine Christian and a true worshiper.
Heaven's newest resident... Donna Dobson-Fowler.