God works through simple opportunities and often in unexpected ways.
Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting with Ann (Annona) Corbett and her son Gary in her hospital room. It would be our last conversation as she passed the very next morning. For those who knew her, as far as people are concerned, it does not get any sweeter than Ann Corbett.
I first met her when I arrived at Skyview in September of 2009. Excited and anxious to begin my first ministry assignment as a senior pastor, Ann quickly became a trusted friend and mentor. Our friendship began unexpectedly when I became aware that she needed a ride to and from church. I offered and she humbly accepted. Little did I realize how invaluable this time spent with Ann would be. God works through simple opportunities and often in unexpected ways. Though I was helping Ann get to church by providing her with a ride, she was helping me in ways that have made me a better pastor, friend, and follower of Jesus.
Whether we experienced a good, average or excellent Sunday morning service, each drive home with Ann left me encouraged and hopeful. Much like my mother, who passed away 18 years ago, Ann conveyed a love for people that left everyone she came into contact with feeling loved and cared for. I often wondered, after a pastoral visit with her, who the ‘real’ pastor was between the two of us. Her wisdom shone through her humility and she became both a mentor and a trustworthy friend and confidant. It goes without saying that today as I write this note my heart is saddened by her death. Men like me need people like Ann, perhaps we all do.
As a man of faith I understand that death is not the end for those who have placed their hope in Christ. For this I give God thanks. I also take great comfort in knowing that Ann is no longer suffering but awaiting the resurrection our scripture promises. Yet, I mourn today because I will miss my friend. Her gentle spirit, humble heart, and sagely wisdom will continue to impact me. So, perhaps as we enter the season of celebrating God’s presence with us, we pause to give God thanks for those who have gone before us. Thanks be to God for the men and women who have passed on their faith by loving us and setting before us an example of His love and grace. Thanks be to God for Ann Corbett.
May the peace of Christ be with you and you family this advent season.