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Until Glory, Christian

Some of you may recall Christian Schmidt’s guest posts here a few months ago. Others of you may be readers of Christian’s blog. For those of you unacquainted with Christian, he was a godly man. Young … but godly. He fought and overcame cancer once, and it stayed away for a while, but it returned almost a year ago. This time Christian did not overcome cancer physically, but he definitely overcame it spiritually. Christian preached sermon after sermon on glorifying God in the midst of suffering, and he even preached other varied sermons, as well, in his last year alive. I heard two of those sermons, myself, and was greatly blessed by them. But this morning, Christian overcame cancer spiritually by “shuffling off this mortal coil,” by leaving this body of sinful flesh, and by being absent in body “to be present with the Lord.” Christian Schmidt is in heaven now, and I will greatly miss his encouragement and faith.

I messaged Christian last night, actually, and obviously he could not reply. His physical state degenerated suddenly and mortally in his last days, but before this fatal decline, Christian wrote a note on Facebook, exactly one week before he fell asleep to go be with his Lord. I encourage all of you to read that note in its entirety, here. For those of you without Facebook, I reprint his concluding paragraphs below:

At this point, I am ready for death. I’m actually afraid of getting healed because then all my hopes for heaven will have to wait several years. My body is in constant pain, which isn’t completely true because they have given me some pretty strong meds and I almost have no pain when I have a comfortable position, I can hardly breath, and these are just a few of my symptoms. It’s hard, sometimes nearly impossible, for me to get up, walk, and lay down. I can do almost nothing on my own, but my loving parents are there for me whenever I need something. I am almost eager to die because most mornings I seem to say, “I can’t do this anymore,” but God is there to lift me up and help me with all of my struggles because of his mercies are new everyday and He is our portion (Lamentations 3:23-24). I am now living the idea of “Live Weak” to the fullest expression (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). The more my weaknesses are displayed the more God is glorified.

The verse at the top [Colossians 1:28-29] has been really important these last few days. Verse 28 speaks of doing everything possible to present everyone mature in Christ. The next verse speaks of toiling to do this. Toiling is not just helping people here and there but using everything that God has given you to complete this task. For me, since I will be unable to do almost all physical activity, I will toil by writing, speaking, when I can, witness to everyone, which I don’t see too many people, but that could make it easier to focus on some more than others, and finally offering any kind of counseling and encouragement to whoever needs it. I may not always have the strength to do these things, but that didn’t stop many of the early missionaries that would grow sick on the mission field and lose their children and wives. They persisted on because it was not their strength, but God’s strength with them. Some may say that I don’t need to push myself too hard, but this is looking at my strength rather than seeing it as God who strengthens me, “with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Besides, if I push myself too hard, then I will get to go to heaven sooner. It is a win-win situation regardless of how you look at it. Praise be to His holy, righteous name. I rejoice that I have been chosen to suffer to for the glory of God.

What faith, fellow Christians! Does it not make you cry for its God-given beauty? Christian wanted to glorify God in both life and death. He has certainly done so. When Christian first stood before God in Glory earlier today, I am quite sure he was able to echo Paul’s words: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” But of course Christian would’ve added, “to Your glory alone.” That was, in fact, the title of Christian’s last Facebook note: “Soli Deo Gloria [To God alone be the glory] to the End.” Job well done, Christian. Job well done. Christian, you have indeed made it to heaven, and yes, “soli Deo gloria.”

Let’s honor Christian’s memory by honoring Christian’s God, by adopting the lifestyle that Christian adopted, which he writes about at the end of his note:

Toiling is not just helping people here and there but using everything that God has given you to complete this task. For me, since I will be unable to do almost all physical activity, I will toil by writing, speaking, when I can, witness to everyone, which I don’t see too many people, but that could make it easier to focus on some more than others, and finally offering any kind of counseling and encouragement to whoever needs it. I may not always have the strength to do these things, but that didn’t stop many of the early missionaries that would grow sick on the mission field and lose their children and wives. They persisted on because it was not their strength, but God’s strength with them.

Those are Christian’s last words to us. Will we listen?

Until I see you in glory, Christian Schmidt, Soli Deo Gloria!

For those of you who would like to attend the Celebration of Life for Christian Schmidt, it will be at Northport Baptist Church beginning at 2 P.M. this Sunday, November 7. Come celebrate Christian’s life and ministry, and come minister to his family, if you would. “It is better to go into the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” –Ecclesiastes 7:2

Lay the end of all mankind to your heart, fellow believers. May we live every day for God’s glory, as did Christian.

“Praise be to His holy, righteous name. I rejoice that I have been chosen to suffer for the glory of God.” –Christian Schmidt, July 24, 1989-November 2, 2010

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