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Goodbye Sweet Friend: Denise Sproul in the Arms of Christ

From Doug Phillips of Vision Forum:


Monday, Dec. 19, 2011


Dear Friends:

My wife returned earlier this week from Orlando on a very special visit to say goodbye to her friend Denise Sproul.

It was a hard trip—hard because of the great perception of finality.

It was a great trip—-great because it was a gift.

It does not happen often, but a few times in the course of our lives, God gives us the gift of holy closure with a beloved friend who is about to depart the earth. God gave that gift to Beall, and she will always be grateful.

This morning we received news that Denise had passed into eternity and was in the presence of her Creator and Savior. Perhaps you received the same news.

Denise leaves behind eight precious children and a very special husband—-one of my best friends in the work of the Lord.

R.C. and I are the same age, have the same number of children, are both the sons of famous fathers, and share similar passions in the work of the Gospel. My love for him makes it very hard not to take personally his pain, his experiences, his joys and the realities which are before him. But it motivates me to remind everyone I know of the preciousness of the families and friends God has given to each of us.

And this is what I feel compelled to say: Tonight, stop and take a really good look at your spouse. Next, look at each of your children. Look really, really long and hard. Take a moment and thank God for every whisper of a moment that God has given you with them. Thank God for the little kisses offered, the stories told, the tickles dispensed, the games played, the readings shared, the silent moments cherished, the victories experienced, the losses endured, the kind words presented , the songs sung, the glances exchanged. These moments not only count for eternity, but they will be remembered for the next billion years after you leave this minuscule moment in time called “life.” Every moment with your loved one matters. Someday they or you will be gone. Every conversation matters. Every kind deed in the name of Christ matters. It all matters.

The beautiful, wonderful life of Denise Sproul has ended. Oh yes, it was a beautiful life. Here was a woman—a mother who embraced life, and a wife who stood by her man through thick and thin. She did all of this with a precious vulnerability—-a transparency and grace which was singular.

Her record as an impeccably faithful wife, mother, friend and child of God is complete. It is the kind of a record that personifies the woman of virtue—a record that would be a credit to any woman of substance. For the rest of their lives her husband and children can drink deeply from the memory and continuing legacy of Denise.

The life story of this beautiful woman Denise Sproul may have concluded, but her story continues. She has graduated from her frail, mortal husk, and will someday be given a perfect body. At this very moment she is experiencing the bliss of an existence which is free from pain, and full of joy. Now she waits the resurrection of the dead and the reunion of her dear R.C., children and loved ones in Christ. For those of us left behind—that uncertain period of time is deceptively long. But I am persuaded that those who are in the presence of God, now perfected, free from sin, and beyond this temporal reality, see more clearly than we the true brevity of life and the preciousness of the window of life given to us by God.

So tonight remember eight children who have kissed their mother for the last time. Remember Darby (18), Campbell (16), Delaney (13), Donavan (2) Shannon (14), Erin Claire (11), Maili (9), Reilly Justus (6).

Remember my passionate and poetic friend, R.C. This morning he awoke to a new moniker—-widower and single father.

And let the life and holy passing of faithful wife and mother Denise Sproul inspire you to love your God more, and to fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run beside those you love the most in this world.

Doug Phillips

One last thing: Years ago my father exhorted me to make every effort to attend the weddings and funerals of close friends. These moments are meant for solidarity, clarity, honor, unity. holiness, and hope. If you have been blessed by the Sproul family make sure to say so. If you are a friend, find a way to get to the funeral services this Wednesday.

Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15

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