It was 3:02 and our first guests had not yet arrived. Pandora was playing a quiet jazz station. The flower arrangement was placed in the vase in the bedroom. The gift basket was filled with gummy bears, chocolate, cheese and crackers, and a bottle of Pinot Noir. Now all we needed was for the guests to arrive. We were excited, overwhelmed, anxious, and grateful for an opportunity to pay forward what so many had done for us. As we waited, we remembered. It had been a little less than two years since David had died. As we peaked through the window curtains to see if anyone had pulled in the driveway, we remembered the exhaustion of caring for David….so many sleepless nights. We remembered feeling alone and isolated. We remembered the stress on our marriage and on our two other boys. We remembered feeling angry at God, each other, and friends who didn’t know how to help so they pulled away. And the more we remembered, the more we were convinced we were doing the right thing. Our guests finally arrived. We loved them, laughed with them, ate with them, cried with them, and sent them home believing they were not alone and loved by God.
But the story of David’s Refuge did not start that first January of 2012. It really began in Libertyville, Illinois at 6:33 a.m. as David Gregory Pfohl came into the world. He was loud, proud, and already believing he was in control. He was healthy, fun loving, and strongly opinionated at an early age. If there was a button you shouldn’t push, a line you shouldn’t cross, or a command to be followed, he tested it. Obviously he was going to be a leader. He was a salesman, and he loved to make money. He sold golf balls, beanie babies, lemonade, and snack food to the staff where his dad worked. He was mischievous. While living in Poland we sent David to preschool. Everyday the boys and girls would brush their teeth after “obiad” or lunch. David and another American friend thought it would be a great idea to switch everyone’s toothbrushes. It wouldn’t be the last time he got in trouble.
We named him David after the well known King David of the Old Testament. In Acts 13:22 it says this about David,
“I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.”
We wanted David to know God, love God, and have a heart for God. If you had the privilege of knowing David, you would know in a matter of minutes that our prayers for him had been answered. He loved God and he loved others with all of his heart, mind and soul. One evening he and Daniel, our youngest son, were in the bathroom getting ready for bed and he asked Daniel, “Have you trusted in Jesus yet?” He reminded Daniel how much Jesus loved him and led him in a prayer. He could have been the next Billy Graham. We wondered what impact he would make in the world and what he would do when he grew up?
Sadly, David died just short of his 21st birthday. While we struggled and grieved and mourned his passing, we also held onto the truth that God was not surprised or caught off guard by David’s death. King David wrote these words in Psalm 139,
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
David lived his life to the full. At his funeral we read the passage in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 that says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” He left his mark. David’s Refuge was born. I hope you come back next week to read more of the story.