Just over a year ago I lost a very good friend, Frank Andreus. My friendship with Frank spanned only three years, but in that time, God used not only Frank’s life, but also Frank’s illness and death to teach me several valuable life lessons.
Frank was a man of strength, integrity, steadfastness, loyalty, and faith. Frank lived life to the fullest, grasping the opportunities God presented. Many of his choices required great courage in the face of fear—whether it was flying helicopters in Viet Nam, serving as a strategist for Homeland Security following 9-11, or staring down the throat of a dragon named Cancer.
Some might think Frank’s years as a Colonel in the Air Force shaped his character. Not true. Frank’s character shaped those around him, not only in the Air Force but in his family, friendships, church and civic groups. Knowing and losing Frank in so short a period of time brought to light several truths from God’s Word.
- “You don't know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears.” James 4:14
- “Make the most of your opportunities . . .” Ephesians 5:16-18
- “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or terrified. The Lord God, will be with you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20
- “Fight the good fight for the Christian faith. Take hold of everlasting life to which you were called and about which you made a good testimony in front of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12
At this particular time in my life, the one that stands out is “Make the most of your opportunities.” Frank and his wife Cheryl lived James 4:14. They recognized the importance of family and made time with immediate and extended family a priority.
Several summers Frank and Cheryl hosted what they called “Cousins’ Camp”, where they gathered their grandchildren together for a week with just Grandma and Grandpa. Dick and I loved the idea and couldn’t wait to try it ourselves. But busyness and circumstances pushed those plans to the back burner of life.
When Frank developed cancer and then went to be with Jesus so soon after his complete retirement, I realized that precious time with family shouldn’t be put off. So, when the opportunity arose to spend extra special time with our grandchildren this summer, Dick and I grabbed those weeks with both hands.
Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude to God for His gifts to us of the available time, good health, and adequate finances to do this. We so appreciate that our kids readily volunteered to do what needs to be done to make it work. And we thank our grandkids for their excitement and willingness to come stay with Nana and Pap Pap for an extended visit, without their parents.
I also am thankful God brought Frank and Cheryl into Dick’s and my life. God opens our eyes to His truths in many ways—through His Word, through our friendships, and through the fine example of his saints.
Which of the Scriptures God brought to life through my friend speaks loudest to your current situation?
©2014 Pamela D. Williams