Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tribute to Harold “Paw-Paw” Mask (1933-2011)

While Lynn and I had figured on having a combination of a Colorado adventure trip and USA Nationals, we ended up having to cut it short to return home for her dad's funeral and to help. Harold’s death was the reason that Lynn and I jetted back home during the middle of our Nationals.

I am going to miss my father-in-law Harold Mask who passed away on June 16. In many respects he was like a second father to me, especially given that my own father died more than 20 years earlier.

Paw-Paw (as Lynn and I and the grandkids all called him) would fill a room with his personality and his laughter. His outgoing nature made him a natural for sales and during his career he had an unblemished reputation as very honest and fair Sales Director/VP that would always go the extra mile for his customers.

He dearly loved his wife Gayle (of 58 years, who he married when he was 20 and now survives him). He also loved his family, his friends, his work, traveling and animals. He had an incredible way of communicating with both dogs and cats. And last but not least, Paw-Paw loved the Lord.

While we hate to say goodbye, we know that Harold is in a much better place now, as his suffering in this life has ended. It is perhaps appropriate to state what Christians of faith like him believe about death (as summed up by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8):

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because those that believe in Him belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed them from the power of death. Christ lives within you believers, so even though your body will die, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. This is because the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Yet while we may suffer now in this life, this is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. We wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Those that believe in Christ were given this hope when we were saved.

Can anything ever separate a believer from Christ’s love? Of course not. Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loves us unconditionally. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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