On Sunday, December 2nd Finn Schafran died surrounded by his mommy, daddy, grandma Jodie and grandpa Mark. He was not alone. He was not afraid. He was loved and embraced. God was there. And, as Kate noted in her blog the next day, “He is now with Jesus.” His daddy wrote,
“He ran the race that was set before him, and he ran it with all his might. He fought the good fight and finished the race. The impact that such a small boy had on such a big world is astounding.”
Finn was only three years old. For over half of his life he battled cancer like a samurai warrior. Unfortunately the brokenness of this world in the form of rhabdomyosarcoma took his life. Damn you rhabdomyosarcoma! Yet while it robbed little Finn of his life, it did not rob him of living out his life with purpose or effect.
The day after Finn’s death his dad shared the news of his passing on Facebook. Today as I write this blog over 11,000 people have responded to Dan’s message; 4,800 people left notes of love, prayers, and support; and almost 2,000 people forwarded his post so others could pray and be reminded of this little boys bravery and life well lived. To say that this little boy made an impact on this big world is more than just astounding, it is amazing!
Brenda and I had the privilege of being with Dan and BrandiLee the last couple days of Finn’s life. It was such an incredible honor to be there. We laughed and cried and reminded ourselves that God was good and all powerful and was not caught of guard by Finn’s cancer and impending death. The Schafrans were the first family we served when we started David’s Refuge. I had the honor to do their pre-marriage counseling. Unfortunately I was unable to officiate at their wedding due to the growing needs of our son David. Before moving to Tennessee they served as hosts for David’s Refuge.
Over the three days we were with the Schafrans, Brenda and and I would often step away and ask each other, “How are you doing?” It was nine years ago we were gathered together as a family waiting for David to take his last breath. Memories flooded our mind. Sounds, tastes, hugs, and tears brought back us back to those last few days in the hospital as if it were just yesterday. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else but there. It was a holy and sacred moment shared with these amazing and beautiful people.
A verse from the Bible that kept flashing through my mind was 1 Corinthians 1:3,4. It says,
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
We had the joy of living out this verse in living color. So many people loved on us and served us as we cared for David. It was now our turn to share that comfort with Dan and BrandiLee’s family. We of course were not the only ones there. Neighbors, grandparents, a 2nd grade best friend named Kara, pastors, church members, the David’s Refuge family, the local Elks Lodge, the local hockey team, and on and on the list goes all gathered and became the hands and feet of Jesus to remind the Schafrans they are not alone and are loved by God and their community. It was beautiful.
Please continue to lift up the Schafran family in your prayers. May they be overwhelmed by God’s love for them as demonstrated through you!