Remembering Karl Beyersdorfer

Dear Brethren,

Karl Beyersdorfer died last week only days before his fiftieth wedding anniversary.   In fact, Karl was planning an anniversary trip with his wife and friends to Arizona and New Mexico to see the Decalogue Stone and other artifacts that bear ancient inscriptions carved into rock.  Naturally, the study of these old inscriptions is controversial in that some claim the inscriptions are pre-Columbian, and therefore indications of early Israelitish contact with the Americas.  Karl died before he could make that exciting trip.

Karl was a longtime faithful minister of Jesus Christ.  Actually, Karl was a servant of Jesus Christ.  “Servant,” is the correct meaning of the word – “minister,” having taken on an entirely different meaning today.  Karl graduated from Ambassador College in June of 1966, was married two days later, and then was off to his first ministerial assignment in Minnesota.  After fifty years, what led to the abrupt end of a life spent in service to God’s people?

Karl had a zest for life and living it that few men possess.  Somehow toward the end of Karl’s life he became disillusioned with where the church was headed.  All of his life was spent in building the church, adding to the numbers, and raising up new congregations.  In the end, it seemed to Karl that his best efforts were producing little or no growth.  Karl came to the point where he felt that he had become ineffective as a minister.  He could not see God’s hand in the work he was trying to do.

Karl began to question his past decisions – wondering if somehow God had become displeased with him – even thinking that perhaps he had committed the unpardonable sin.  Not only was professional help needed for Karl – but professionals with the Spirit of God to direct their efforts.  Psychiatrist and neurosurgeons know only the physical aspects of depression, and are therefore totally unable to be of help spiritually in time of need.  Sadly, in the end, there was no one there for Karl in his darkest hour.

“What man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him?  Even so no one understands the things of God, but by the Spirit of God.”  (1Corinthians 2:11)

God's people are not exempt from discouragement and depression.  The people of the Church of God are facing more and more trials in this evil age and are prone to becoming discouraged and, yes, at times even depressed and despondent.  Many among the true saints are going through serious problems related to age, accident or illness.  For many, these afflictions may last the rest of their natural lives.  These kinds of pressures continue to be a source of constant struggle which bring about discouragement and depression.  Even the strong of mind and heart can sometimes become discouraged and depressed.  It is nothing to be ashamed of.

Many of the prophets and great men of God were mentally tormented with discouragement and depression.  Moses, Elijah, Jonah, and many other leaders among God's people fell prey to emotional stress and strain.   Discouragement and depression are not the malady of a weak mind or a sinful heart.  Brilliant intellectuals and statesmen have been brought to their knees.   Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale and Meriwether Lewis suffered horribly from discouragement and depression.

God has promised us that He will see us through every trial.  But, let’s understand that even the faithful martyrs did not physically survive their final trial – and yet, God’s words are true:

"He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

God has honored us with the most precious gift that a person can have - His calling.  We have been selected to have a place at the wedding feast with Jesus Christ as His bride.  If we remain faithful to our calling, by accepting our trials with faith and dealing with them with perseverance, we will be welcomed into the Kingdom of God with these words:

“Well done thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21, 23)

Take heart, and remember what a tremendous privilege it is to have been chosen at this time, as first fruits.  All our efforts to overcome this world will be rewarded by our gracious Father.  The magnificence of the Kingdom of God will cause all of our present-day trials to pale into insignificance.  Karl’s healing awaits the resurrection.

Sermon:  "Remembering Karl Beyersdorfer"