Donald D. DeHart
Indiana Memorial Service
Let us turn to the words of the Lord
Don knew his Savior and he knew what he meant when he said, "I am the resurrection and the life; they that believes in me, though they die, yet shall they live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die."
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be here I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Don's hope was firmly placed in Jesus and he knew that he could not be separated from Him even death.
Paul writes in the book of Romans,
Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't and life can't. The angels can't and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Overwhelming Victory, even in Death is given to those who place their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. This is the truth that gives us hope. Don understood that this mortal body of ours is our home for but a few years, that when we breath our last, God has prepared an immortal body for us to dwell for eternity in. The old passes away and all is made new.
John writes in Revelation (14:13) "Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this down; Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. yes says the Spirit of the Lord, they are blessed indeed for they will rest from all their toils and trials, for their good deeds follow them!"
Paul writes of this when he says,
"For the perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory, ‘O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
John the Revelator was given a glimpse of this victory that is in store for the Christian when he was shown Heaven and those that were faithful, such as Don.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." And the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!" Then one of the elders asked me, "These in the white robes - who are they, and where did they come from?" I answered, "Sir, you know."
And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, "They are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Don is at the throne, being led by the same shepherd who led him through this life, Jesus Christ.
Let us Pray,
O gracious Lord, we come before you this day filled with grief, hurt and loss. We come before you in the midst of our journey through the very valley of the shadow of death. For you know that we grieve the loss of Don. You know the void that is left with his passing, the emptiness that is felt, the loss of a husband, and friend. Give us comfort and strength this day through the bounties of your love.
But even as we come in our grief we also know that Don is not lost to you or to us for we know that you have gathered him to your side. That he now rests in that reward that all of those who confess you find when they pass from this side. We want to thank you this day that Don is with you, that his journey here has been completed and he has been welcomed home by his loving savior. Help us to rest in this comfort during this time and lead us in your paths that we might move from this valley to the pleasant places where we might rest in you. Speak to our hearts and minds this day we ask in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, AMEN.
We gather here this day to celebrate the life and witness of Don DeHart. While our hearts are heavy with grief and a feeling of loss, there is a calm assurance that supports us through this time. That peace that passes all understanding comes from the Lord, Christ Jesus himself. For not only is he present in this place to bring us comfort, he is in our lives reassuring us of the truth that He has gone to prepare a place for us in the presence of His father, our God. That though we pass from this life all those who have placed their faith in Jesus will not be lost but will find their joy made complete when they are welcomed into the very presence of God.
We are reminded today that death is not the end of life for a Christian it is just a time of change. For in a twinkling of a moment, when we have breathed our last breath of earthly air, the Lord Jesus Christ descends and gathers his faithful children in His out stretched arms and says, "Well done my good and faithful servant, you have run the good race, you have fought the good fight you have remained faithful and now a crown of righteousness in heaven awaits you." That faith has been made sight, that trust has been answered and that reward has been won. Don is at rest, gathered with his Lord and all of those who have completed their faithful race. He feels no more pain, sheds no more tears, he has put on his new imperishable body. That his struggle with the pain of Cancer is now over and he has received his new body which we know he will use to praise you.
We are so thankful for this promise, this hope this truth. And we look forward to that day when we might be reunited with our loved ones that have gone on to their reward.
Don's memorial service and any conversation about him has to have Matthew 25:31-46 as a part of it. For this one passage truly shaped the life and work of Don
31"But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. 34Then the King will say to those on the right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'
37"Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' 40And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' 41"Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his demons! 42For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me anything to drink. 43I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me no clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'
44"Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?' 45And he will answer, ‘I assure you, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.' 46And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."
Don believed this passage. Not just that it was God's word, not just that it was true in some sense, but that IT WAS THE TRUTH. That HAD to BE ACTED ON. His whole life's work was centered in living out the need to serve God in Haiti by caring for the people whom God had created. Don had single minded focus on the task that God had called Him to.
I think that we should marvel at many things in Don's life. One would have to be the fact that he truly knew what he was called to do and used his unique gifts, talents and everything else he had to live out that calling. Secondly would be his determination to persevere through everything from set backs and financial problems to cancer and sickness to failures and difficulties. He was going to get the job done that God had given him. Third would be how much he loved the people in Haiti, even when they were not easily loved. He accepted them where they were, he did all he could to minister, love and care for them, yet he let them be who they were. He didn't love to get something back, he loved because he had been loved. People not governments, bureaucrats or others that thought they were important, no he loved people.
We should stand in awe and amazement at what this one man, with the help of those that God sent to him, was able to accomplish for the Kingdom of God. We do not have time to tell about all the things he did, and if we did He would be really upset because it was never about him it was always about God. But it is quite true that people are alive today that would be dead because of his ministry. There are people who are in heaven now and those who will be one day because of his ministry. There are those who's lives are far better because of Don's work. Bodies healed, lives changed, lives saved, soul's touched, soul's saved, people cared for because of Don who without his answer of , "Yes send me" would never have know hope, love, salvation or even healing.
We also must marvel at the great providence of God in Don's life that he brought Eva into his life. For 35 years Eva shared the love Don had for Haiti and even though all the work was in Haiti, She still seemed to find more than enough things that had to be done to allow him to serve there. Without her, To Haiti with Love would not have become the ministry that it has. Don was blessed by God with Eva. Don did everything he could to convince Eva to not become attached to him, from his cancer, to his past to his love for Haiti. But she refused to take an easier path and thank the Lord she didn't.
We have been privileged to trod this earth with one who has shown us what it means to let Jesus Christ control his life. We must look inward to day and ask ourselves if such could be said of us if places were reversed. If the answer is no, then we need to bow our heads and seek the forgiveness and mercy of God today. For only then can God have the opportunity to work in us and through us as He did in Don's life.
Yes Jesus is here with us today. He inhabits this place because he knows our sorrow and our grief. He comes to give us the peace both spiritually and emotionally that we need. He comes ready to gather us in his arms and hold us close to his side. He comes that he might guide us through this valley of the shadow of death safely to the other side. He comes that he might guide us through this life to our home prepared for us in heaven. All you must do is call out to him and he will be there for you, today, tomorrow and for all the days of your life.
We have gathered here this day because God so loved the world that he sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to the world, that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have eternal life. We have gathered here this day because Don, saw how much God loved him, and invited Jesus Christ into his life. He turned from his old ways of living and followed Jesus faithfully over the years of his life. The love that he received from God was given by him to the people of Haiti in ways that only one who had totally surrendered themselves to God could do. Don's work is done, our's still stretches before us. But God will be there to help us accomplish all He has for us.
Let us Pray