MOBEETIE, Tex. (BNc) by Caleb Sampson — Physically, he stood head and shoulders above the rest of us at 6’9″ and 230 lbs. But the dignity and manner of the last few months of his life made him look more like a spiritual giant.
Don Merrill Edwards passed from this life Friday, Mar. 15, 2013, at his home in Mobeetie after a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis and, finally, liver cancer, but his memory preaches on.
Don was born Jan. 3, 1940 in Big Spring, Tex. to the late Jack and Elfreda (Murphy) Edwards. He was raised on a farm in Olton, Tex., and graduated from Olton High School. He received a B.S. in Accounting from Abilene Christian University and did his Master’s work at Texas Tech University. He was a Certified Public Accountant and retired from Cabot Corporation on Apr. 1, 1999. He had previously worked at Malouf Abraham, Inc. and Tejas Feeders. He married Mary (Dobson) Edwards on Mar. 1, 1963.
He was a gentle giant of a man. Stately, kind, positive, gentle, knowledgeable, and innovative all come to mind when I think of brother Don.
In fact, I think this passage of Rom. 8:28-39 sums up his life:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Don was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed working with his cattle, hunting, hiking, and backpacking. He was a member of the Wheeler church, American Institute of CPAs, and the Panhandle Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.
I did not have the privilege to know Don before he was overcome with sickness. I did, however, see the sermon in his daily life as he began to decline. The nurses who saw him marveled at how well he handled everything and his demeanor in all of this.
When you went to see him he may or may not have been able to communicate directly with you, but the smile on his face spoke volumes. The knowledge that his end was coming near did not invoke depression or fear, but instead he knew where he was going and didn’t have long to wait to get there. Would we have done the same or allowed ourselves to wallow in self pity and grief?
He refused pain medication because of the side effects, and yet he, in the midst of constant pain, would not raise his voice or be cross with anyone. Oh, how often we let a little cold or ache change our whole demeanor into a growly mess and yet he did not in the midst of so much more!
His physical description (head and shoulders above the rest) reminds me of King Saul in the Old Testament. Had he been a king, I have no doubt that Ms. Mary would have been his armor bearer. He went into battle every day with disease, and she was there by his side doing her best to defend him, even at the cost of her own bodily injury, sleep, or even the ability to leave the house.
Someday, when we have passed, someone will say a few words about our life. Will it be easy for them or hard? Will they struggle to find some good to say, or will they struggle to choose between all of the many uplifting stories told concerning your life?
The fact is we all preach our own funeral sermons by the way we live. No matter what the preacher says at the memorial service, our lives will leave behind their own sermon, either for good or for bad.
God doesn’t guarantee to protect us from difficulty and physical harm, but instead does promise to be our refuge in every situation. It is in him we find real security. “You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Psa 59:16).
Thank you, Don, for the sermon your life has been, and thank you Ms. Mary for the manner in which you fought so valiantly for him and your unselfishness!