By Jane Pan at her husband Rev. Robert Pan’s Memorial Service, January 10, 2009
This is the saddest and yet the happiest day of my life. The Bible says, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.
This is the saddest day of my life because I lost my husband, partner, and best friend. I told my friends that the day he died, two third of myself also died. My heart ached so for him. It was as if a sword pierced my heart and took away two thirds of my flesh with it.
When I asked Barbara Martin, “when will I get over this tremendous pain, she said, you never get over it, you just have to learn to live with it!”
Maybe this is the reason why Robert adamantly wanted me to plan and officiate his memorial service despite of many pleadings from me to choose someone who is not directly related to the pain when the time comes. However, he refused to listen to any reason I gave him. Maybe he knew I would hurt so much that if I kept busy, I will get used to the pain and learn to live with it.
Robert and I shared a deep and Spirit-filled relationship. In the almost four years of his illness, we began to grow even deeper in our love for God. We trusted Him fully and focused our lives on honoring God and giving God the glory.
As we shared our every thought, doing devotions together, and centered our lives on God, we discovered God’s grace is truly sufficient. The weaker Robert became, the more perfect we see God’s power in our lives. We acknowledged everything we do for the sole purpose of glorifying His name.
In teaching, we saw the hand of God moving people to tears and changed lives. In preaching, we experienced and lived the sermons and not just for sermon delivery. We saw how people prayed and turned to God for healing. People around us were drawing close to God and seeking God and not men for healing. God gave us the extra time so that we may experience God Himself through our suffering.
This is the happiest day of my life because Robert is no longer mine, no longer my Robert, but God’s Robert.
You see, all through our 39 years together, Robert was codependent on me. He loved everything I did. He loved me so much; he frequently said he could not live without me. He literally lived a life putting me on top of a pedestal. I was like a beautiful flower to him. He said he lived to please me.
When we were dating, he was not a Christian then; he asked me who is number one in my heart. He was hoping I would say he is, because I was number one in his heart. When I answered, Jesus, he was shocked. In the 39 years we are together, I never wavered in that position. However, he was struggling and wished God would be number one in his heart.
On the Sunday night before he passed away, I asked him, has God spoken to you about when he is taking you home to glory? He said, “not yet, but I am listening very hard.”
That night, while I was resting, I heard voices that came through the baby monitor. It was like a two-way conversation, with thrashing of wings. I went to check on him, he was out of the hospital bed, his head bent over, face down on the chair and his body limped as if he had knelt to pray. I touched him and felt no pulse; he was gone.
After I calmed down and ask God why Robert did not call my name like he usually does, God said, “Robert is mine. His last breath was spent on me. If you had been with him, you would have interrupted the special relationship Robert has with me. He died by giving his total being to me. I took him after he acknowledged he cannot live without me.”
This was what I had been praying for all my life for Robert. I wanted him to have that special relationship with God as I have; that God is number one. I am happy because now I know, Robert is not mine. He belongs to God totally. He is with God now.
I miss Robert. I miss his warmth, his smile, his jokes, and his companionship. I miss cooking for him (he loves my cooking) I miss my best friend, my partner in ministry, my lover, and my equal.
Yes, there is a time to live and a time to die. To everything, there is a season. A time for every purpose under Heaven. You see, Robert loves people. I am not the only one he loves. I am happy that now Robert can totally focus his love on God and not on anyone or me.
As we come to remember Robert, may we also have a personal walk with our Lord. If you have not accepted Jesus as your personal Savior. Robert would love to tell you to do so quickly.
Robert lived a good life, a life that is cleansed by the blood of Christ. He knows his sins are forgiven, and with no regret. When he died, he had that smirk that you saw on his face. He knew he had beaten death itself by living forever for God in eternity. Will you join me to honor and praise God? Let us pray.
“Dear God, we want to tell you how much we love Robert.
However, you love him more by taking away his suffering and receiving him to yourself. He is now living in your realm of eternal bliss.
You have prepared a room for him in heaven. You are saying to us let our hearts not be troubled. One day, for those of us who believe in you, will also go to you.
We have the faith that is sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
We love you Lord Jesus. One day, we will see Robert. He goes before us and will be made perfect with us, when our time comes to join you in heaven. Lord Jesus, thank you for comforting us with your words.
Holy Spirit, anoint us with your grace, which is sufficient, your power is made perfect in our weaknesses. May we all be filled with joy and peace now. Amen!”