Monday, March 05, 2007
I watched a man leave this world Saturday morning. It's one of those images that you wonder if you'll ever be able to forget.
For the out-of-towners: Mr. Dave Pitner suffered massive heart failure Saturday morning in the church lobby as we prepared for another monthly, ministry meeting. It only lasted about 10 minutes, which is about as long as it took for the ambulance to get there. Mercifully there is a wonderful new couple at our church: a paramedic and a nurse. In the end, they couldn't do anything for Dave, but they sure did something for the rest of us. I can't image what those 10 minutes would have been like without them there.
Which makes you think about timing. Ten minutes earlier and he would have been driving with his wife in the car and other motorists possibly in the way. It's not as though God were absent Saturday morning.
Pastor addressed Dave's passing with amazing clarity and grace Sunday morning. Thank you, Lord, for Pastor Hoban. He presented the conversation between the Lord and Satan in Job in light of, "Have you considered my servants at Church in the Word?" The devil answers, "Let me have one of them, a good man in whom is found no blame, and they will curse You to Your face." Dave's happy, and we'll pass this test to come through to a Faith Week that will tear down principalities over the northern Chicago area, set people free, and encourage the faith of the Church in our area.
Our hearts go out to Dave's wife and children. A year ago I would have been appalled at the idea that God would allow the devil to take a life. More recently, Timothy and I have been watching the Omega course from Mike Bickle. In discussing some of the unhappy events of the last days, Mike puts death in perspective. The bible refers to the 80 to 90 years of your life as a "vapor"(James 4:14). What's the last 10 years of that vapor? Nothing. Look at it from eternity's perspective, trust that God has a plan, and it's less painful an idea.
So the only thing left to do is share a warm, fuzzy story that accents some lovable character trait of the dearly departed. Here's my contribution:
Months ago Switch was hosting a bowling over-nighter. After the service, we were going to take the kids bowling and then split up the girls and guys and try to make them sleep. We under-estimated the kind of draw such an event would have and ended up with more kids than the four of us could possibly get to the bowling alley without the added complications of leaving some behind with a leader and then getting all the cars there ... Dave Pitner just happened to be there. Friday night at about 9pm, Dave was at the church fixing a light switch in one of the childrens' classrooms.
When we explained our little problem, he dropped his screwdriver and was more than happy to load his van full of teenage kids that he didn't know to drive them to the bowling alley across town. What is normally a traumatic event for a teenager (being the "unlucky" ones who get stuck in a van with a guy they don't know) turned out to be the best ride any of the kids had; for whatever reason when we all got there these four were going on about Dave and his cool van.
That's Dave. We'll miss him ... but we'll see him again soon.