Our brother, Clyde Hampton, has died. Our brother, Clyde Hampton, lives.
Today, Friday, October 29th, Clyde won his battle with cancer. He won his battle with failing kidneys and fatigue, with pain and heart-trouble. Clyde defeated every enemy with his final breath.
He had been at war for so long. Like you and I, he fought this enemy called Death from the day he was born. But unlike most of us, Clyde was constantly harassed by Death.
We, in all of our healthy bodies and day-to-day activities, try to ignore Death. We act like it’s not there, like it will never come. We put it out of our minds. But Clyde fought Death for decades. It stared him in the face with all of its horrifying and morbid intentions, demanding his attention in the most painful ways.
Death attacked his body. It struck at his possessions and dreams. It often stole jobs and joys. And whenever, by the grace of God, the storm cleared long enough for Clyde to feel normal again, Death reappeared on the horizon with new threats and curses.
And Clyde, with Linda beside him, fought Death for all its worth. He fought with transplants and medicines, with prayer and faith. He fought with laughter and game and simple pleasure. He fought with the Word of God, and he fought with determination – God was in control and had forgiven him and loved him, and nothing could take that away.
Surgeries and medicines and organs failed, but faith was a shield that never did.
Now Death has done its worst. It has robbed Clyde of his body, stolen away the created flesh that gave him a place on this earth. The body has died…given out…succumbed. It can carry Clyde no further.
But as Clyde breathed his last breath and the heart stopped beating and the nerves stopped firing and his body went silent, Jesus was there. And as the body failed, Jesus did not. Flesh and blood could carry him no further, but Jesus could.
He is not dead. He rests with Jesus. He is absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).
But he will not be absent from the body forever. There is a new body, a redeemed body, coming to Clyde. He will have a body untouched by cancer; a body with no chance of failure; a perfect body; an eternal body.
And we will see our brother again. At the return of the Lord, the dead in Christ will rise and meet Him (1 Thess. 4:16). We will be with Jesus, and we will be with Clyde. And we will always be with Clyde, from that point on, forever and ever. That is the promise of the Lord Jesus, Himself. It can be trusted more than any promise from any other person in the world. A reunion, joyful and never-ending, is coming.
The Bible says that Death has been swallowed up by life through the victory of Jesus, and that we, Christians, are more than conquerors. Jesus has stood over Death, crushing it and Satan under his foot, taunting them with the words, “Death, where is your sting? Where is your victory? I have won!”
And so has Clyde. Clyde has won. And we will win, too, if we persevere in the faith to the end. This is the love of God toward us, through Jesus, His Son.
Clyde has died, but Clyde lives. And we will be with him again soon.
Please pray for all the families Clyde called his own. Pray for Linda and Clayton and Tiffany, for the Byrds and Rutans and Belchers and Hamptons. Ask the Lord to lead you in loving gestures of kindness and compassion. Hold onto Jesus and trust in God’s goodness to us, His people.