Faith Hope & Love

On Saturday September 29, the world lost a wonderful person. Jan Geist was a friend and inspiration to many. Her life was one of extreme faith, much hope, and lots of love. After a 9 year battle of cancer she was set free from her suffering and is now enjoying the tangible and immediate presence of her Lord.

Jan's life and story touched countless lives. Many are recounted at a web site the family has set up. See it here.

Jan touched our family's life in a very special and profound way; a very unselfish and loving way. It is a picture of real faith and love. The following is what my wife, Robin posted on the family web site.

I was part of Jan's Bible Study group in the early days when there were only a small handful of us. We met in a very small room, around a very small table at church. I loved the small intimate feel of our little group. It didn't take long for us to get to know each other in a very personal way. My prayer week after week was that I would have a baby - it had been several years in the trying. My study buddies agonized with me, and prayed so fervently for me. It touched me so deeply. At the same time, Jan was battling her breast cancer. Over time, we had all come to love Jan so deeply, we loved her like a mother. She freely shared her life experiences and her wisdom with us each week. I think all of us inwardly feared for her life, and wondered how we could live without her there.

I was not about to let Jan die if there was something that I could do about it - so, I struck a deal with God. As passionate as I was to have a baby, I was more passionate about keeping Jan with us. I told God that I would gladly give up the privilege of being a mother, if he would keep Jan here with us. I felt that we and the world in general needed Jan so much more than I needed to have a baby. I had contented myself with being childless, as I witnessed Jan have a long period of remission from her cancer. I was truly happy, and God strengthened my faith through it all.

It was about a year into Jan's remission, when I had cause to wonder if I should take a pregnancy test. After three positive tests, I believed the impossible - I was pregnant! How was this possible, and what about my deal with God?

I could not contain my excitement as I proudly walked late into my Bible Study group the following Wednesday. They must have read it all over my face as I told everyone that I had good news. I literally saw some holding their breath as I made my big announcement. I will never forget the response of those precious women - I felt so wrapped in love that day. There were tears and screams of joy all around the table.

As I was walking out to my car after study that day, I received the most touching news of all. I met up with Jan, and I proceeded to tell her about my deal with God, and of His boundless and awesome love for me - blessing me in this way in spite of our "deal". Through joy filled tears in her eyes, Jan told me that she had also made a deal with God, that she had felt strongly prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray for me - to ask what God would want her to "give up" for my happiness. She said that she had told God that she was willing to give up her very life for me, so I could have a child. I was astonished by such a love as that - I was speechless. Jan lived the words of the passage in scripture, John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends".

Jan was the special speaker at the baby shower on December 14, 2004, for Benjamin Andrew Eberly - my son. I just finished watching the DVD of her message of our special bond in Christ. I pray that my son becomes the man of God that would make Jan proud to give her life for.

I am forever in awe and inspired by Jan Geist. I can only hope that I can one day attain the kind of wisdom and intimacy with God that Jan had, and now has in His presence.

Last April I preached a message entitled "Is Jesus Lord of Your Hardships?" Part way through my message I had Jan share some of her story with us. If there was ever someone who knew how to keep Jesus the Lord of her life amidst hardship, it was her. Her testimony was truly amazing. Hear it here.

Read more about Jan's life here.


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