As soon as I realized it was the ring tone on Pam's phone I knew who was calling. And I was provided one last view of the "space suit" in which the soul and spirit of one of God's greatest gifts to me had left behind.
I had no tears in response to the passing of my friend of 43 years. I had extinguished those into his lap, onto his face, in front a phone screen, and on short walks away from my compound over the past three weeks.
This was not a moment of defeat. This was victory.
The apostle Paul wrote, "For me to live is Christ. To die ... that is better yet." You won't find me begging God to raise my friend from the dead. Nate Robertson is where he wants to be ... with Jesus.
Death is man's last great enemy. I hate death. It rips a man from his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his friends. "The bodies we have now embarrass us, for they become sick and die; but they will be full of glory when we come back to life again. Yes, they are weak, dying bodies now, but when we live again they will be full of strength." Jesus defeated death in His resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15)
|Favorite people ... Nate & Lainy ... October 19, 2016|
|My two daughters, Rebecca & Stephanie, and granddaughter, Robyn, with Nate|
|My friend for eternity ... Nate Robertson ... in Heaven ... October 19, 2016|
I regret that Pam was unable to return to Oregon with me last month to spend time with Nate before he went to Heaven. We knew that only one of us would be able to make that trip, for various reasons, and we both were more than aware that it would be me. Nate love us deeply. We loved him deeply. After the phone call, just more than an hour ago, woke me here in Africa, I knew that I had to produce a tribute to this wonderful man gifted to me by God. I wondered if I should dig back through my four decades of photos to retrieve some which portrayed him in a more healthy state. But, decided against it when I realized that the last week I spent with him was such a treasured experience.
As Pam and I stood on the back veranda, peering into the FaceTime screen, just a few days ago, we realized it would most likely be our last conversation. His last words to us were, "We love you."
My loss. Heaven's gain.