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Reflections | Dr. Leighton Ford (Mentoring)

A Thankful Memory of Sandy Ford

December 11, 2017

December 1, 2017 at 9:58am:

Thirty-six years ago yesterday I stopped saying “It just isn’t convenient right now to be completely committed to Christ.” And I gave my whole self to trusting Christ while at the funeral of a most amazing 21 year old UNC student who made a difference everywhere he was on campus.

Sandy was even kind enough to stop between class one day and say yes to my request to talk about faith. Sandy was someone who only peripherally knew me through a mutual friend. He suggested we talk after Thanksgiving break but Sandy passed from Time to Eternity the day after Thanksgiving and we were never able to talk.

But at his funeral on November 30 in Charlotte (I skipped class to make the two hour drive to the service all alone) with over a thousand in attendance, Billy Graham (Sandy’s uncle) stood and said “Sandy knew that to live is Christ and to die is gain.” In an instant, I knew, I wanted to live, really live.

In that moment I surrendered and all the arguments of inconvenience melted away. Something about knowing Life captured my heart and in that moment I said, “Lord, if you will let me live, Sandy’s death will not be in vain. Christ’s death will not be in vain. And I will live each moment for You.”

Never have I looked back and questioned, “Was it worth it?” Eternity secure, life abundant now, understanding though, at times, and in excruciatingly trying circumstances, I know each moment of my life has been sifted through the hands of my loving heavenly Father who says “I know the plans I have for you and they are good plans. Trust Me.”

I remember the evening just a few days after Sandy died, I knocked on a (soon to be) friend’s door and said, “You don’t know me but Sandy was your best friend. Please tell me about him.” And he told me about Sandy and more about Christ and introduced me to a new world of hope and real joy. I learned to study the Word and that God is good.

I began to trust His plan for this lost and dying world to know Him and that He wanted to use me to tell this story of redemption. And I did… here and in the Philippines broadcasting the message of Hope behind the then Iron Curtain of communist countries. And then life through the decades of walking with Him…

God gave me my dear husband who is always pointing us to Christ and all these years later, we find, he is a gifted writer, writing a daily email to family and friends each morning before most are awake, entitled, “A Little More Like Jesus.” It challenges me each day to ask God, “How do I look today? I want to look a little more like Jesus.”

Sandy looked like Jesus. My friend who shared Sandy’s story looked like Jesus, the friends who taught me and encouraged me at UNC looked like Jesus and God in His mercy sent me a husband who looks more like his Savior everyday.

“O Lord, Thou didst strike my heart with Your Word and I loved Thee.” May the Word of God on the written page or in the life of a believer cause each of us to long to look a little more like Jesus and not waste another minute saying it’s just not convenient now.

The enemy says “There’s no hurry.” I say, “Life, abundant life, is waiting. Don’t settle for the life this old worn out world offers. Run to Him.

Read the news. Our generation sewed the wind. We are reaping the whirlwind. There is so much more to life than what we see and surmise with our finite minds. Choose Christ. Choose Life. “For me to live is Christ. To die is gain.” Thanks be to God
Frances Knott George

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