Last week, I was shocked to hear the news that a dear friend of mine, Kevin Cunningham, a brother in Christ, had suddenly died. It came without real warning and unexpected to all who knew him, and to his precious wife.
I had the privilege of knowing Kevin and his wife Christine for fifteen years and they have been a beautiful picture of the grace and power of God, and a testimony to me through my journey of following Christ.
Just before my seventeenth birthday I radically encountered the living Christ in a school auditorium, and He transformed me to my very core. Everything in my life became one thing--to delight in Jesus.
Shortly after that, the opportunity arose to go on a mission trip to Honduras. A mission trip with one focus, to preach the Gospel and see people radically changed. It just so happened that Kevin and Christine were one of the leading couples on this trip. As a young believer myself, Kevin and Christine stood out clearly from among all the others as men and women of integrity and of a clear and determined Faith to believe God for the impossible.
In all my years knowing them since, they have never wavered in Faith or in passion for Jesus. Their passion and determination to serve Christ wherever He would call them is a powerful testimony to this generation where many seem to fall at the pressures of this world.
It just so happened that during that first mission trip of mine, I met my wife for the first time, though at the time I didn't know it! She was a fifteen year old fiery worship leader and I a seventeen year old crazy for Jesus kid wanting to see Christ magnified. We saw each other only a couple times after that until seven years later we met again and started dating and married within a year!
I share all this because Kevin and Christine are woven into the story of our life, our story. Their life and testimony will shine forever because they have built their life on Christ.
A couple years after that first mission trip, our church sent Kevin and Christine as missionaries into Columbia, an often times dangerous territory to preach the gospel. But they went and boldly spread the Gospel with the favor of God on their lives.
During one of their trips back to the USA, I wanted to capture a portrait of Kevin so that I could share some of their stories from the front lines in Columbia.
Most portraits that I paint, tend to be very time consuming and are quite honestly difficult! But when I sat down to paint Kevin's portrait, it seemed to just flow out effortlessly in a manner of a couple of hours. I believe that it was just a reflection of the Faith that Kevin walked in. He Believed God. He trusted His Word. He trusted His power. He believed in the living God who moves and acts on behalf of His people. And faith, though it is a battle, is effortless at the same time. It is the only thing that truly moves mountains. It is the ONLY thing that can make a person right with God. - Romans 4:5 "But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness."
John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."
Kevin is alive in the presence of Jesus, not because of anything that he did, but because he believed on the one who justifies the ungodly. He stands now in the presence of the resurrection and the life.
Kevin, you will be greatly missed here.