November 3, 2011

Replacing the Fallen

It is not man who picks his leaders, but God who raises up leaders and orchestrates events that raises them to power.

Psalms 75:  "For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But GOD is the Judge.  He puts down one, and exalts another."

We question death.  When it comes, it should not take us as a surprise.  However, when the occurrence of death occurs before what we deem as the appointed time, we question why. Death is not natural;  it symbolizes a world of evil that is suffering under punishment and the bondage of sin.  We are born into this world, both the just and the un-just face the same cold realities of evil.  None are excluded.  

The story below is what many would call a tragedy,  a young man dying young with a bright future ahead lost forever.  But did his death escape the eye of the Creator God who not only knit his soul together in his mother's womb but also orchestrates events as well as raises up leaders at the appointed time?  In Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper, Piper gives an illustration in which he compares two ladies dying in their early 60's in an accident in the middle of the African wilderness trying to reach rural tribes with the Gospel with a retired couple living in Florida collecting shells.  He asks, which one was a tragedy?  The answer is clearly, the one who refused to give up comfort and ease of this life for the rewards of the next.    Can it be a tragedy if one dies fulfilling the will of God in one's life?   

Death is not a tragedy in itself---the failure to accomplish what God has called you to do while living is.

This man below died doing something he was passionate for and something God no doubt is rewarding him for in heaven.  Going back to Psalms 75, we cannot forget that God is the one who raises up leaders to serve his purpose.  When those leaders fail or are taken before the plan is completed, God raises up another.  Remember Moses?  Joshua marched Israel into the promise land.  Remember Malthius?  God raised up Paul to serve as the 12th disciple.  Remember John Wesley? How about Billy Graham? Has there ever been a time when God has not raised up ministers to preach the gospel?

God will raise someone up to fill this man's shoes.  I do not doubt he will like he has in the past.  Who will carry this man's Olympic torch, perhaps it is I? 
Also, the role of suffering in God's eternal plan for our lives.  

Pro-Life Student Advocate Jon Scharfenberger Passes Away

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | | 10/18/11 12:22 PM

Jon Scharfenberger, a staff member for Students for Life of America, passed away Tuesday morning from complications suffered after a tragic automobile accident that also claimed the lives of Kortney Blythe Gordon and her unborn baby Sophy.

Gordon, Scharfenberger and two pro-life students were driving back from the Students for Life of America Georgia conference when their vehicle was struck by another head on in a massive collision. The driver of the other vehicle was reportedly speeding and passing cars on a two-lane road. Gordon and her unborn child, Sophy, were immediately killed upon impact and Scharfenberger was in critical condition following the accident.
“The team at SFLA is beyond saddened by the news that Jon Scharfenberger, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator and Campus Support Coordinator for Students for Life of America, passed away this morning due to complications from injuries he sustained from the same car accident that claimed the life of SFLA leader Kortney Blythe Gordon and her pre-born daughter, Sophy, on October 8th,” SFLA said in a statement.

“Jon had many successes in his short time with us at SFLA, including establishing a pro-life campus group at Florida International University that was successful in saving the life of a pre-born baby, a mere one week after its creation,” SFLA said. “We continue to offer prayers of support for Jon’s family and friends and grieve during this incredibly difficult time for our organization and mission.”
“Because of your outpouring, the team at SFLA was able to pay Kortney and Sophy’s burial costs 100%. We encourage all of our supporters to donate to help pay for Jon’s burial costs as well.  All proceeds are tax-deductible and 100% of gifts received through this page or otherwise noted will be donated to the Scharfenberger family,” SFLA said. “All of our love and prayers to Jon, Kortney, Sophy, and the Scharfenberger, Blythe, and Gordon families.”
On Monday of last week, SFLA executive director Kristan Hawkins he was not doing well and she had flown to Georgia to be with Jon and his family.

After the accident, Gerard Nadal, the director of Medical Students for Life and a LifeNews blogger, kept the pro-life community informed of Jon’s condition. Yesterday, Nadal reported that Scharfenberger was facing significant medical difficulties.

“Late yesterday I received word that the physicians have induced a 72-hour coma in Jon. In the meantime, we wait, and hope, and pray,” he wrote Monday morning. Later in the day, he added, “Jon has spiked a fever of 108 degrees F, which can be lethal. Urgent prayers are needed as this battle has taken a terrible turn for him.”
Scharfenberger was the Campus Support Coordinator and Pregnant on Campus Coordinator for Students for Life of America and he traveled to college campuses working with pro-life groups to create and obtain tangible goals that impact both their campus and local community. He worked to provide a vision and plan to the over 600 campus pro-life groups across the nation by creating guides and projects that pro-life groups can use in order to provide timely and essential resources to students facing unplanned, crisis pregnancies.

A native of Warwick, New York, Jon graduated with a BA in Philosophy from Ave Maria University in the spring of 2011. He served as President of AMU Students for Life where he led many successful pro-life initiatives. In his years as President, he helped fundraise over $30,000 for the club and committed membership soared from 30 members to over 150 by his final year. In September, 2009 he organized a successful overnight prayer vigil to protest the opening of a new Planned Parenthood, which gained widespread media coverage.

He interned for SFLA in the summer of 2010 and also gained experience on Capitol Hill as an intern for Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS.) Jon joined SFLA in the summer of 2011 to continue to train and equip the next generation of pro-life leaders. Jon also interned at the National Right to Life Committee.

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