What Was Not Lost

Believers are told that we will sorrow, but not as those without hope. Our sorrow is mixed with joy, and so it was today that there was both gladness in my heart and tears in my eyes to hear of the passing of Charles Rogers.


I met Charles and his wonderful wife, Debbie, back when I was just a baby. Well, I was about twenty, but in ministry terms I was a baby. They had cashed in their retirement to join a group of builders who went around the country assisting churches with construction projects. Charles and Debbie were great complements to each other. She was (still is!) southern and chatty, while Charles went about his work quietly, efficiently, and with a twinkle in his eye. Along with Ron and Barb Trosclair, Jack Reed, and a bunch of other folks, they invigorated our building project and brought joy and friendship to our fellowship.

How much did I really know about Charles? As I think about it, he lived a lifetime before I ever met him. And since I met him a little less than twenty years ago, our meetings have been sporadic and probably wouldn’t amount to even once a year. A thousand people remember him in a thousand ways more than I. What right do I have to claim his friendship?

But I’m not the only one without those memories; Charles lost them, too. He was robbed of a lifetime of accumulated knowledge, skills, and friendships by a crippling disease. The many who loved him as a friend prayed for him from afar while the one who loved him best loved him at his side all the way to the end. Charles lost everything from his ability to use his tools to even knowing what his tools were. It’s a good thing a man is more than his tools.

A couple of months ago we read an update from Debbie during our Sunday morning worship service after which I asked one of the men to pray for them. He got choked up and couldn’t, so I stepped to the platform and realized I was still struggling to believe that in Charles’ case, all things were working together for good. How could God allow such a faithful servant to endure such hardships as these friends were facing? How could such loss be justified?

Of course, God has no reason to justify Himself. Rather, it is God who is just. There is no imbalance in this world that is not in our favor; no grace that fails to meet our need. I don’t see it perfectly, but I see that all Charles lost were the things that we saw and appreciated and caused us to love him. But God loved him without all of those things. God loved Charles as only a parent can love: without reason. And after Charles had lost so much, what remained was still his love for God. His final day was spent singing along to the Gaither Vocal Band and the old hymns that speak of God’s love and salvation. Charles lost so much, but not the love of God.

The love of God is a precious thing. It reverberates down to us from Calvary’s cross, stirring chords that fill the silences with melody. In Charles’ case, it came to him in the form of a good woman. A good wife really is from the Lord, and Debbie’s love for Charles has been a sympathetic resonance of heaven’s compassion.

Speaking of heaven, that’s where Charles is. With memories more solid than any earthly building and a twinkle in his eye more cheerful than the morning robin. In the end, nothing was lost that has not been found.

One thought on “What Was Not Lost

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s