It was my honor today to be a small part of an amazing memorial service that celebrated the life of Dr. Joseph Graham. I mentioned Joe and his battle with cancer in a recent post last month entitled Suffering < Glory. On Sunday, March 4, Joe received his ultimate healing as he was ushered into the presence of His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Joe was a loving husband, devoted father and grandfather, surgeon, rancher, student of history and servant of God, country, his family and the Joplin community. He lived life to the fullest and brought joy to those who were around him,” his obituary read.
During the service, Dr. Graham was spoken of by his friend and colleague, Dr. Mitch Stinnett. Dr. Stinnett referred to Joe as “the brother I never had” as he reminisced about their partnership in the medical profession and how they grew to be the best of friends. Mitch made it very clear to all who were present today that Joe would want each of them to come to know the Jesus that he had committed his life to serving.
Joe’s two sons, Cameron and Mark each spoke about their father at the memorial today. They spoke of their dad being their hero, their confidant and mentor. Cameron shared from one of his dad’s Caring Bridge online journal entries where Joe said, that because of his faith in Christ, he was at peace with facing this chapter in his life, referring to his battle with cancer. Joe stated that his attitude could be expressed in the words of that beautiful hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” (which was one of the hymns sung as the service today). Mark shared of his dad’s love for history. He referenced Joe’s admiration of General Stonewall Jackson for not only being one of the great military minds of the day, but even more for being a great man of faith. Joe’s legacy of being a devout husband, father and follower of Christ was so beautifully expressed by both of his sons.
So many great things were shared about Joe Graham today. And I know there was so much more that could have been shared. But our Pastor, Jamie Tickel, brought it all down to one profound truth. He said, Joe is not in heaven today because he was a skilled surgeon who saved people’s lives. Joe is not in heaven today because he was a devoted husband and father. Joe is not in heaven today because of the legacy that he has left to his family and to those who knew him well. Joe is not in heaven because of anything that he did while he was here on this earth. Joe is in heaven today because of what he allowed Jesus Christ to do in his heart and life when he trusted Him as his Savior. Giving God glory through his life is what Joe wanted to do above all else. And that fact was never more evident in his life than it was over past 20 months as he gave God the glory through every difficult step of his journey Home.
“For our present suffering is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18