My friend Tad just lost his 19 month battle with pancreatic cancer. In sorrow and sadness, we remember that he just won the greatest victory of his life. He’s been crowned with the victor’s wreath having finished his race. He has received the promise that was given him on the day he was born-again by the Holy Spirit. Death has no sting on him. He is alive.
1 Cor 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
First Corinthians 9:24 is a verse that Tad often referenced in his prayers. “Let us run the race to the end,” he regularly prayed. Those are words of encouragement and motivation for any Christian, as well as words of desire and commitment to love and serve God all the days of our lives.
Running the Race
Tad was definitely a race-runner. He ran hard. He ran strong. And he ran long…all the way to the finish line. Competitive throughout his life, Tad’s greatest battle began in May of 2017 with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Tad fought cancer with medical treatment and with faith, hope, and joy:
- Faith in Jesus who gave Him life everlasting
- Hope in Jesus who gave him light in the darkness
- Joy in Jesus that increased daily as Tad kept his eyes on Jesus and the joy set before him.
Tad’s faith in Jesus gave him the strength to endure two unsuccessful surgeries and numerous medical procedures, as well as chemotherapy, feeding tubes, sleeplessness, great weight loss, pain, nausea, in-patient hospice stays, and more. Tad endured the journey, fought the battle, and gained the victory. While it might seem like he lost his battle with cancer, cancer did not win. Cancer could not steal the life that God gave to Tad. Tad did not die. He simply moved from his earthly home to the Lord’s heavenly home and Tad is more alive today than he ever was here on earth.
Fighting the Battle While Running the Race
As a long-time Bible teacher and a strong evangelizer of the lost, Tad ran the race well for many years before the cancer diagnosis. As well as he ran, he finished even better. Cancer did not cause fear (Read the beginning of his journey: Cancer Hope: I Am Not Afraid). It did not diminish his faith, his hope, or his joy. In fact, it increased all three and gave him opportunities to share his faith with even more people, and to live with great hope and joy. When diagnosed, Tad turned to Jesus and received strength in his weakness making him able to keep a reasonable work schedule and teach a weekly Bible study almost to the very end.
A Mighty Legacy
God revealed Himself in a mighty way throughout Tad’s battle with cancer. Doctors predicted impending death several times and when they were proven wrong they were stunned. Tad, and his Christian doctor, understood that it is God who numbers our days. While cancer fought to take Tad’s life, God sustained him for more months than any doctor could imagine. It was by God’s will that Tad remained to celebrate another birthday, to spend precious time with family and friends, to share his testimony before a large gathering at church (Read and watch: Facing Terminal Cancer with Hope & Joy), to teach weekly Bible studies, and to see a precious granddaughter born in November. It was an amazing reminder that God is more powerful than any disease, illness, accident, or circumstance that might try to claim our lives. Only God determines when our days on earth will come to a close.
It’s never easy to say goodbye, even when we know it’s not forever, even when it’s “until we meet again.” My husband and I spent some time with Tad two days before God took him to Heaven. We all talked about the love of God, the sufficient grace of Jesus, our hope that never fades, and the unimaginable joys of Heaven. With a smile on his face, Tad proclaimed, “Hallelujah” and “I can hardly wait.” Tad’s months of living with cancer and fighting the battle were an amazing testimony to God’s faithfulness in the most difficult of times and Tad’s dying was an even greater witness to the strength Jesus gives us all the way to the finish line.
Tad was my friend, my mentor, and most importantly, my brother-in-Christ. I learned so much from his Bible teachings. His goal was always that we grow in the knowledge of Jesus through studying God’s Word. God used Tad to prepare me for full-time ministry, and I am forever grateful for the time Tad took to answer my questions, discuss doctrines, and debate difficult texts. Some of my favorite memories are the after-study discussions, in which we dove deeply into the Scriptures to reason about some of the teachings that remain a mystery (eternal things yet unseen, prophecies yet to be fulfilled, etc).
God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, nor sun without rain.
But He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.
- Jesus is our strength.
- Jesus is our comfort.
- Jesus is our light and the way to perfect peace.
Tad will be greatly missed by so many. First and foremost by his family, but also his Christian brothers and sisters, his non-believing friends, his business associates, and even just acquaintances who didn’t know him well. Everyone witnessed the joy in Tad’s life and Tad was always ready to tell from where it came. Tad also made the most of the talents God gave him. In his professional life he excelled, and in his personal life he gave generously in service to God with his time, talents, and treasures. Many Christian organizations and charities benefited from Tad’s generosity, including a church he helped plant that has grown and thrived over the years.
Tad’s years of teaching the Bible grew many in faith and in motivation to share God’s love. His generosity contributed to making our city a better place. He will be missed by so many. Gone from this earth is a son, a husband, a father, a grandTad, a brother, a cousin, and a friend…but most of all, a child of God who served God by helping grow the Kingdom of God.
A Final Message
All the prayers of healing for Tad have been answered. While we would have liked it to be on this earth, God has healed Tad of cancer by taking him to Heaven.
If Tad could impart one final message, I think it would be that which he prayed so many times. “Run the race to the end.” May each of us run with joy, confidence, and perseverance. May we run strong to the very end, knowing that when we align our will with God’s will, He is faithful to keep us on course, to provide strength in our weakness, and joy in all things, all the way to the finish line.
Tad is now one of the great “cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us. He leaves a legacy of fighting the good fight, keeping the faith, and winning the race.
Heb 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Praise be to Jesus, the Saviour of our Souls and the Lord of our lives.
And thanks be to God for the hope and joy we have in Jesus, now and forever.
One of Tad’s many talents was playing the piano. Listen as he beautifully played “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “As If We Never Say Goodbye.”
14 months into the Battle with Cancer
Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil 4:6)
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control. Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19. As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.”
Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it: Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live: Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.
God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble. When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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