An Open Letter to A Friend Gone Too Soon

Dear Joshua,

I will never forget October 23, 2017. It seemed so surreal seeing you lying motionless in the casket, dressed in your best. Tears swelled up in my eyes as I remembered how you had been such a good friend to my husband and me.

Your abrupt departure from this earth caught us completely off-guard. Your mother shared with us the details of your sudden heart attack as you were preparing to leave for work that fateful morning.

As I stood by your casket, I pictured you right there with us, comforting us with your smiles as you stood together with Jesus—a reminder that you were off to a far better place than before (one where there would no longer be any tears or pain). That image brought much solace to my aching heart.

It’s hard to express the pain we felt from losing you. We shared so many good memories together and on some days it’s hard to believe that you’re gone.

You were truly a beacon of light that shone brightly wherever you went. I remember how my husband and I would quarrel over the most minor details on our trips together (especially in our early days of marriage) and how you would be the peacemaker. Your oft repeated phrase, “Please don’t quarrel, it troubles me when you do” still rings in my ears today and is something that I always remember whenever a quarrel is about to erupt between my husband and me. You can’t imagine how many unhappy quarrels you’ve saved us from! Your gentle nature and desire for peace reminds me to walk in the same manner and exercise the spirit of gentleness and self-control.

I know it was tough for you to have this perpetual heart condition. It mustn’t have been easy having to consume medication on a daily basis for the past 10 years (after having your heart bypass surgery). You also had difficulty catching your breath after walking a certain distance and would perspire profusely. Yet, I never once heard you complain or blame God for this sickness you had.

Instead, whenever you were feeling down, you would choose to bow down before God and worship Him. I witnessed firsthand how you lived each day for God, leaning on Him for the strength that you needed and trusting in His sovereignty over your circumstances.

You reminded me of Job in the Bible through the way you dealt with your sickness and how you responded to God in the midst of the most trying of circumstances.

I remember the times when you planned to go out with us but had to stay at home because you were feeling unwell. Whenever we met, you always had a smile on your face even if your heart condition caused you great discomfort.

You always placed the interests of others before your own too, showing consideration to others in the midst of your own pain and discomfort. Remember the time we were on our way back to Singapore from our short trip to Batam? We were in a hurry to catch the ferry and both of us were lagging behind because we could not run as fast as the others. You noticed that I was struggling with the bags of crackers I bought and in the midst of trying to catch your breath—and the ferry—you still stopped to take the load off me.

This small act of kindness left a deep impression on me and I can never thank you enough for all that you have done for me.

As I recall your life, the words of Joshua 1:9 come to mind (I remember that it’s your favorite verse too!): “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 You displayed such strength and courage even though your heart was weak and your body was gradually breaking down. You knew that the Lord was with you at all times and you never despaired of life, no matter how tough it got.

Through the way you related with all around you (especially caring for your elderly parents who have yet to come to know God), you have inspired me to want to live a faith-filled life with God.

Thank you for leaving us with a legacy of your faith that stirs our hearts towards our Creator.

You have fought the good fight, ran the race and kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

Now it is my turn to run this race well, just as you have.

Farewell and till the day we meet again . . .


Your friend,


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