Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints
Five years ago I received word from his wife that a wonderful Christian friend went to be with the Lord. Only the Lord knows to what degree my salvation was due to the seeds sown by this man.
It was my sophomore year in college at Western Michigan University. I was not a Christian and didn’t think I could be one. What little faith I might have had was long gone after a year of college. Dan Crabtree was a new student in our dorm and lived across the hall from me. His roommate was loud, crass and boisterous and had a bit of drinking problem to put it mildly.
Dan was a Wheaton College student who became a guest student for the year at WMU because Linda was there – she was his fiancée. Dan loved Jesus – and was so different from anyone else I had ever met. The more I got to know him, the more I enjoyed being with him. I remember wondering how he could wind up with the roommate he had. They couldn’t have been more opposite, yet Dan didn’t react negatively.
That year was a very difficult one for me but Dan was an oasis in the middle of a desert. When I think of that year, my first memories are of Dan. He was a true friend and loneliness was something I struggled with. The following October I met Jesus – the impact of which was like a tsunami of love leveling a Matterhorn of doubt! I can remember thinking of Dan after it happened and the marvelous example that he was for me.
Later on, when I was thinking of getting more schooling, I thought of Wheaton, because Dan went there. I graduated from Wheaton Graduate School in 1978. Over the years we were able to reestablish our friendship. Donna and I have wonderful memories of times with Dan and Linda – their warmth and hospitality. We didn’t get to see them often but time and distance could not diminish the treasure we had in them.
Much to my regret, I hadn’t talked with Dan for several years, I wasn’t aware that the illness had flared up again. Fortunately, he was one of those I had been sending my devotionals to. Less than two weeks before he died I received a reply email back from him: “- thanks for your investment and thoughtfulness. Dan”. I cannot put into words what his encouragement meant to me.
May we so love Jesus that our lives will shine for Him and be His witness to those around us like Dan’s life was to me and so many others. May we be thrilled at the prospect of helping others to meet Jesus!