|Dave and his lovely wife Wanda|
Hi folks and happy New Year
Yesterday Tammy and I went Sanford NC for the funeral of my friend CH (LTC) Dave Spears. I worked with Dave at FT Bragg on my last assignment. He entered heaven on Christmas Day after a yearlong fight with brain cancer.
At the funeral there was a host of friends, colleagues and even a general or two paying tribute to a life well lived but more importantly to a God who saves.
Dave loved to hunt, fish and make knives. He was not a touchy feely type at all! Probably why he made a great chaplain to the hardened men of Special Forces.
Dave surrendered his life to Jesus in the late 70's and not long after that gave his life to the ministry, bible college and seminary.
He worked his way through both undergrad and his master’s degree with the ultimate goal of becoming a chaplain in the Army. He did so 16 years ago at the age of 36.
Dave led countless soldiers to Christ, deployed 3 times both to Iraq and Afghanistan as a Special Forces Chaplain. Dave was a gifted counselor and was a straight shooter.
If he didn’t like you, you knew it and if he did like you he gave you a hard time. He was no one’s “Yes man”. Strong and deliberate and a man of few words, when he said something it was important and you had better listen. He could be ornery and gruff, but tender in the same breath.
He taught me much about ministry and life.
We had long talks about Jesus, people and ultiamtely his facing death. We had a CMD SGT MAJ in our office one day, a warrior’s warrior. His name was Jeff. Jeff has taken many a life on the battlefield and has faced death numerous times. He’s seen his friends killed as well.
Jeff was getting ready to leave for another assignment and was making his rounds saying goodbye. I think he knew that this would be the last time he would see Dave. After a lot of joking around Jeff got serious and asked Dave how he was making it through this.
Dave very coolly said, “Jeff, I’m dying but 32 years ago I put my faith in Jesus Christ, and that sealed the deal for me.
After that Jeff said something to Dave that I’ll never forget. He said “Chaplain, I’ve met a lot of men in my time in the Army, but I have never seen anyone face what you are facing with as much strength and faith as you have, you are an inspiration to me!”
After Jeff left the office Dave and I sat and thanked God for the privilege of that previous moment. Dave never picked up a rifle on the battlefield or kicked a door in, but he made a lasting impact not through exploits in combat, but through the way he held firm with reckless abandon his faith in a crucified, resurrected Savior.
I will never forget the testimony that Dave displayed as he was living out his final months. My prayer is that I will be able to live well and finish well too!
At 12:40 on Christmas day, Dave crossed over the valley of the shadow of death and said “Happy Birthday Jesus!” and he did it in person, completely healed,….finishing well!
Thanks Dave, keep the lines tight in the river of Life for me, I'll see you someday
But not yet....but not yet