2004-06-10 - Goodbye Mr. President
Heb 9:27a And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once (NAS)
Tonight America mourns the death of former President Ronald Wilson Reagan. As often as we, as a people, argue over matters that cover the full range of concerns, tonight we are united as we bid farwell to a favored son.
His legacy includes a litany of accomplishments. Some of these have arguably altered the course of history. But they all seem, at least to me, to be founded on his compassion and principles. He had an ability to bring people together even in difficult times. He lead the nation in mourning the astronauts after the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed in an explosion that killed all aboard. His politics, while vitally important to him, was never personal. He was known to have a drink after hours with the same congressmen he had argued passionately with only hours before.
Ten years ago, Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He wrote a very simple, yet very elegant letter to the American people. It was filled with concern for his wife, Nancy, and for his family. And it beamed with hope for this nation in the coming years, a nation he loved very much. There was no mention of his own fears or concerns, though he must have had them. He lived his final years as God gave them to him, surrounded by Nancy and his family.
To have witnessed a life this full and with this much impact should inspire us all to reach a little higher, and to recognize the needs of others before our own. His principles and his values have changed the path of a nation, and showed each one of us that the potential impact we have on the lives of others can be immense and positive, even when the hour seems very dark and we may feel very alone.
In the end, for all his accomplishments and positive impact on individuals, nations and the world, he will stand alone before the Lord of Hosts. The eternal destiny will be determined by his answer to the question, "What did you do with My Son?". I did not not know the President personally, nor do I know the Reagan family. I know that Ronald Reagan was not perfect, as none of us are perfect. He would probably be the first to admit his own frailties. But his capacity for caring and compassion, his dedication to his convictions and his principles, and his service all to me are evidences of a man who was at least familiar with Jesus Christ, if he does not know him as his Savior and Lord. At a press conference, he once claimed to have modeled his life "after the Man from Galilee". This was one of many references to Christ in his speeches and in his letters. I hope to meet Mr. Reagan one day in Heaven.
Goodbye Mr. President. And thank you for your example and your leadership. You will be missed, but not forgotten.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (KJV)