So let me tell you about a different man who walked with God and was not, for God took him.
My father-in-law Eugene “Gene” E. Ofstead died six years ago this week; his absence is still felt in my heart today even as I write this. He had lived on this earth from August 20, 1936 until July 23, 2007. The day he died was very similar to how he had lived most of the days of his life. He got up, ate breakfast, spent some time reading his Bible and some devotionals and set out for the day’s events.
Part of the day took him up to the family cabin which we, along with some other family members, built together back in the eighties. Neighbors at the lake tell me that they saw him doing some chores including caulking the chimney as well as seeing him taking a canoe ride. They also told me how he had stopped by their cabins and talked with them.
When he arrived home, he ate some lunch and was invited to take a walk with a good friend of his, who told me that Gene was mentoring in how to have a prayer life. During their walk they spoke and discussed a devotional they had read in; “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers as they walked on a narrow path on which they could only walk single file. His friend went on ahead as Gene followed behind.
At one point, the friend noticed that his questions were not getting answers from Gene so he turned to find Gene lying on the ground dead. Calls were made, medical and police arrived, and yet he could not be revived.
Because he had died in a public park, an autopsy was performed. We discovered that the cause of death had been a massive heart attack; which was unusual because he was in great shape, fooling many who would have not guessed that he was seventy years old. He was athletic, adventurous, and still loved to run, canoe, roller blade, work on relative’s homes, as well as playing with his grandchildren.
When we got the phone call with the news of his death, Psalm 90:10 came to mind which says; “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years...” (Psalm 90:10a) which is significant because Gene was seventy and a month away from being seventy one.
Gene loved life, loved people, loved God, and loved me! That day he went out for a walk with a friend to talk about the Lord and died before he hit the ground.
Gene walked with God and was not, for God took him…. What a legacy to leave!
Each of us can have a legacy like that. Psalm 90 goes on to say; “Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:16-17)
That we too can walk with God.
“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him..” (Hebrews 11:5-6)
"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."