Are Pastors Exempt?

It’s commonly thought that Pastors’ lives are somehow unique: They are protected from suffering and have a Red Phone to God. I’m a pastor. Read my story and see.

On March 6th the burned remains of my Mother were discovered after a 6 1/2 hour search. She was formally identified by the surgical markings on her toes. Today, sixty days after Mom’s horrific death, my Dad died. He suffered as well. Last May he spent ten days on life support following heart surgery and had been hospitalized eight times since then.

Both were great parents who contributed well to society. Some would say they were good people. Some would say, “Why do good people suffer?” The question’s fatal flaw lies in the fact there are no good people on earth. A better question is: Has a good person suffered? Yes. The Bible says that God sent his Son who knew no sin (was good) to become sin (be punished for our fatal flaws) for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God (we can be made good).

My parents weren’t intrinsically good, but were made good simply by believing that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for their fatal flaws. They then demonstrated this faith remarkably in their lives.

Mom and Dad both suffered and died. This is not an indication that God isn’t good but that life is broken. The two can’t be confused. The same God who made them good has now delivered them from suffering and into his presence forever.

Pastors are not exempt. Even though Mom and Dad are with Jesus, I’m grieving and rightly so. I grieve because death is real and I won’t make friends with it. I’m hopeful because Jesus has defeated death.

Alvin Beadles – Update #15

IMG00023Ladies and Gentlemen, Alvin Beadles has left the building. He has been released from the hospital.

I invite you now to track back through the blogs updating Dad’s story. My thankfulness for Dad’s recovery is equalled only by my appreciation for the mercy Jesus showed our family in the midst of it all.

Thank you for walking this path with us.

Alvin Beadles – Update #9

IMG_0419Today has been amazing. Early this morning, the Lord mercifully allowed Dad’s ventilator to be removed and he’s held his ground all day. May the Lord be pleased to allow him to continue to strengthen and to be finished with the ventilator for good.

Given the fragility of this transition, the staff are understandably limiting our contact with Dad and discouraging visitors for a short while. We don’t want to flood the carberator again.

When awake, he is understandably confused at times, but overall we can see the real Alvin Beadles beginning to shine through.

I’m so proud of Dad, but even prouder of Mom. Through all, she has maintained a faithfulness to Dad and Jesus that can’t be faked. She’s tougher by half than the rest of our family.

Please pray that Dad would continue to improve, beat pneumonia and feel comforted by Jesus as he struggles through the mental fog.

Alvin Beadles – Update #8

IMG_0417Dad got winched into a chair again today and tolerated it well for about 9 hours. I think he is aware of the change, and if so, believe this encourages him tremendously.

Seeing this picture hopefully allows you to be encouraged in your prayers. He is slowly, slowly improving. It also shows how sick he remains. Those blue tubes and the attached machine behind his head (ventilator) need to go bye bye. May the Lord be pleased to strengthen his lungs to an extent that makes this possible. None of the medical staff posit guesses on time; they are solely focused on winning.

Heather (my wife) took me to downtown OKC for dinner and a trip thru the Bass Pro Shop. It was great being with her but I got all emotional thinking about memories made with Dad in that part of town and how much fun he would have watching his grandkids stare at the fish in the store. I bet if the Doctors did a ManScan on me they’d discover I’m sprouting ovaries.

We are winning, but this is a game of inches. You honor us with your prayers for Dad’s recovery and our family’s strength. May the Lord give us the grace to daily and intentionally place Dad’s life in his hands.

Alvin Beadles – Update #7

There’s not a good kind of staph pneumonia but mercifully Dad doesn’t have the nastiest one. He’s still on the ventilator and mostly sedated but was winched into a chair today. The surgeon thinks this move will be good for his mind. I agree.

Jesus has mercifully allowed him brief moments of quasi-consciousness today. For the first time Mom asked to be alone with Dad. It has been an honor for my brother and me to protect this time for them.

His eyes look tired. He’s so very sick. Yet, his body continues to fight and, according to the Doctors, he’s winning. May the Lord be pleased to preserve his life.

FYI – For those desiring to visit Dad: You are very gracious to share in our current suffering. There are times Dad can be seen and times the staff believe it best that he not be stimulated. A schedule can’t be determined. In other words, you are warmly welcomed but may not be able to see him.

Thanks for walking with us. Now get back to work before Dad wakes and catches us sitting around!

Alvin Beadles – Update #6

Today has been a good day. Not for Dad, but for Mom, my brother and me. It seems that each of us have been given the grace to place Dad’s life fully in the hands of Jesus. We and anyone else would tell you that we had done so on Monday, but you know when you really do. We aren’t making friends with Death or giving up hope. We are receiving a measure of grace not needed yesterday. We are experiencing a fuller understanding of “Grace for the moment.”

Dad has Staph Pneumonia, a particularly nasty bug. The medical staff are continuing to battle for his life and Dad appears to be holding his own. He could survive, other people have.

Your prayers have been answered. Today, we are receiving the grace to win the battle for the mind.

You would honor me to now by making this your prayer. “Father, please allow Alvin to make consistent progress and fully recover so that he might bring you fame in his earthly service to you. Should you desire to bring fame to yourself by the mercy you will show his family in death; then allow that death to come quickly. Either way, make your fame, chief among our desires.”

Alvin Beadles – Update #5

More than ever, today has been a battle for the mind. In the morning hours Dad was increasingly alert and at one point muttered to my brother; “Do you think it’d be alright if I ate some green beans?” Loopy Dad made us all laugh. However, the effort to crank up the 1943 Model Alvin must have flooded his carburetor. He had to have the ventilator reinserted and was sent back to sleepy land. Our first meaningful setback.

The battle for my mind escalated in intensity. Honestly, I lost this battle for much of the day. Not my sanity. I’ve not begun to imagine myself a dried prune. Rather, I found myself losing the readiness to be guided solely by biblical truth. Letting my mind run away with itself.

A faithful friend, who is also seated in the classroom of pain, helped me. In Bible terms, “He comforted me with the comforted with which he has been comforted.” He listened, listened and listened more. Then he talked. Thank you Blake Holmes.

Psalm 61 was Blake’s foundation for my encouragement. Among other things, the writer asks, “Lord, lift me to the rock that is higher than I.” Meaning – bring my mind to a point where I can see. Give me a higher perspective, a better view.

I’m still sorting it out. I’m learning as I go. However, for this moment, I’m seeing from a different vantage point. What am I seeing? That the star of this movie is not Dad, me or my family. The star is Jesus. In our current pain, he is graciously bringing strength to us and deserved fame to himself.

With continued thankfulness we ask that you pray for Dad’s lungs to be strenghtened, for the pneumonia be eradicated and for our mind’s perspective.