For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
II Corinthians 5:1-8
Todd with his wife, Barbara, and two children, Madison and Benjamin, last Christmas.
You may remember reading about our dear friend Todd Clendenon's battle with squamous cell carcinoma (head and neck cancer). That battle ended Saturday, August 21, 2010, shortly before midnight.
After two years and a number of different treatments, Todd went Home. His earthly tabernacle was dissolved, eaten away by cancer, but he is now completely healed, free from pain, and rejoicing
face to face with his Savior.
We met Todd when we began attending our church, nearly three years ago. He was a friendly, outgoing guy who loved to laugh, be with friends, and study God's Word. Todd only became a Christian a few years ago, but his grasp and knowledge of Scripture was truly remarkable. If you ever looked at his Bible, it was worn, dog-eared, and the margins on every page were crammed full of his comments and cross-references. He had a love for theology and Christian apologetics, and spent much of his time studying and teaching others. He had what must have been a photographic memory of Scripture - quoting many, many passages by heart. His love for Jesus, the Bible, and everyone he met was evident to anyone who had the honor of knowing him.
Todd with Christian apologist, Frank Turek, co-author of
His passion for truth, the Bible, the Gospel, and Jesus was a source of inspiration and exhortation to me, my husband Josh, our church family, the local high school's drum line (Todd was a drummer and spent a lot of his free time with them), his co-workers, our community, his doctors and nurses, fellow patients, and everyone around him. His life touched literally thousands of people - including many who didn't even know him - through the news stories and the facebook page that was set up on his behalf.
Todd and Josh at a "Tacky Christmas" party with church friends...
Todd with some sweet young men at our church who shaved their heads in support when he was undergoing chemo...
Cancer is a truly horrific disease - Todd's type was one of the worst. He endured more physical suffering than anyone else I have ever known. He fought for nearly two years -- the last few months were especially difficult. I say all of that, not because it's easy or pleasant to remember, but because - in spite of all of the pain - Todd never lost his faith in Christ, God's goodness, or his hope of eternity in Heaven. He continued to teach in our church as long as he was physically able. When the cancer ate away his ability to speak, he still lifted his hands in silent praise to God, even while he was being wheeled to one of his final treatments in California.
Todd reading his Bible while waiting for treatment in LA.
Faith in and of itself doesn't mean much. It only matters insofar as it is placed in the right thing. Todd's faith held firm, even during the worst of times, because it was anchored in One Who is real, holy, faithful, and Who does not change. Todd loved the Gospel because he knew it to be true. He knew himself to be a sinner, in need of a Savior. He knew that Jesus came to be that Savior, and he put his trust in Him. We never got an opportunity to record Todd giving his testimony, so I'd like to share a video with you of Rachel Barkey giving hers. Rachel passed away last year, another victim of cancer.
Click HERE to watch that video.
I'm sure Todd would be sharing the same thing if he were here...
I'd also like to share an article by John Piper -
if you or a loved one is facing cancer, you may find this helpful:
Todd, we will miss you.... but we will see you again.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
- I Thessalonians 4:13-18