Dear friends it's with incredible sadness of heart that I write these words, and for so many of us a tremendous shock.
You may well have heard the sad news about Mark Bateman (the incredible, lovely husband of Nicola, son of Phil and Caroline, brother to Tom, Joe and Isaac) .Mark went missing on Thursday evening, on the 10th November. After tireless searching and longing for his safe return, he was found, sadly too late to save him, on Friday morning.
No words can explain nor could they ever be enough in the face of such sadness and distress.
We do know this though, that Mark was a tremendous man who loved Jesus, Nicola and his dear family with all his heart. We know also that Jesus loved and loves Mark now and has most surely brought him to His side. We are confident of the Grace of God and His never ending compassion and goodness to each one of us.
We know that the everlasting arms of Father God are carrying the family right now, and could I ask that as you pray for Nicola and the families, that you would release the un-limitless grace and love of God toward them. His comfort and mercy is never ending.
It's important that we quietly thank God for the wonderful life of Mark, and celebrate him in our hearts.
Perhaps as you try to come to terms with this terrible news, it's important to try to identify and bring the feelings of pain, grief, hurt and anger to Jesus and let him have them. He does not want you to be burdened with this heavy grief. Release it to Him - shout if you need to - but do not allow it to stay inside and cause you bitterness, resentment or anger.
Remember Gods goodness and the many wonderful things He has done, both in Marks life and in yours.
I am sure that Nicola and his beautiful family would want for you to celebrate Marks life and remember him with joy, knowing he is now fully at home with His Father.
Cry with those who cry, rejoice with those who rejoice, encourage and comfort those who are hurting and release full blessing to each other.
He loves us and He is with us - wrap that love around this beautiful family.