"Time" In memory of Damian JeanBaptiste, 1964-2012

Saturday, 01 December 2012 11:40


"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die...

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end...

Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account." Ecclesiastes 3:1-2,11,15

The concept of time is one we find discussed throughout the Scriptures.In the beautiful passage above, we are told that “there is a time for everything.”I don’t know about you, but I frequently feel that there is simply not enough time for everything. Yet, somehow, with God there is no shortage of time, nor is there a surplus. God has given each of us precisely the right amount of time. That time coincides exactly with the time he has deemed necessary to fulfill the purpose for which he created us. So we must not waste time for we know from Ecclesiastes 3 that “God will call the past to account.” Neither should we fret for we know that God has ordained all our days before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).

In a time of dire need in Israel’s history, Mordecai tells Esther, “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). I believe that God very much sets each one of us where we are for such a time as this. Our life and times have a purpose. Notice how Jesus viewed and used the time allotted to him: “‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!” (Luke 13:32-33). Jesus knew that his time was short and he was compelled by a passion to bring souls back to God each and every day until he reached his goal.

In a time of need in my life, God gave me a friend in Damian JeanBaptiste. His warm laugh, his missionary’s heart, his zest for life, his adoration for his wife and children, his belief in me and his uncanny ability to see the good in people and in God’s church - such things inspired me and called my faith higher. But these past few weeks have taken my admiration for him even deeper. In and out of the hospital during his battle with cancer, every time I was with him his heart was still on fire: he was sharing his faith with the nurses, counseling me on my life and ministry, and determined to use every last ounce of his allotted time to fulfill God’s purpose for his life.

As his time grew short, Damian’s family gathered close around his bed. They prayed and gave his life over to God. Just as they said, “Amen”, Damian breathed his last. My heart aches at the thought of his time being done. My heart breaks for the family he has left behind. Though I do not claim to fully understand why God has taken him now, I know that in God’s eyes his time was not cut short. No, his time was complete. Personally, I wish he was still here; from my finite perspective, it seems there was so much more for him to do. Yet it would be an injustice to say that he lost his battle with cancer. Quite the contrary, he won. He finished his race and now wears his crown (II Tim 4:7-8). Of that I have no doubt. Damian apparently accomplished exactly what God sent him to earth to do in the amount of time God ordained for him. Damian’s job was done and God called him home to heaven. He was not late, nor was he early. He arrived precisely when God meant him to.

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hands

Psalm 31:14-15

Our times are in God’s hands. In Christ, death has been defeated! We need not fear it anymore. Like Damian, let us make the most of the limited time God has provisioned us. I long to be in heaven with my brother, Damian. And I will join him there. After a time.

"The time has come for my departure."

II Timothy 4:6

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