April 6, 1959 - January 15, 2022
April 29, 2022
I chose to write these words for the program instead of speaking them at the memorial service: As a young man, David Sanford committed his life totally to Jesus Christ and served Him faithfully to the very end. That was his goal and desire and his challenge to others. David truly was "a man after God's own heart." He loved God with all his being, he loved and lived the Word of God, and he loved people--generously,enthusiastically and kindly. David was a Pastor, for some years in title (lay pastor/elder), but always with a heart to meet people in their need and encourage them where they were. Always sensitive to the hurting and doubting, always confident in God's providence and sovereignty and faithfulness in each person's life. David was a Friend. He considered few people just acquaintances but immediately built bonds with those he met and worked with. He walked through life with many people and loved them deeply and loyally. He forgave and was forgiven, experiencing the beauty of reconciliation many times throughout his life. David was a Champion. In writer's workshops, as a consultant or literary agent or in personal conversations with family or friends, David's highest joy was helping others reach their goals and dreams. He loved seeing someone else succeed and was thrilled whenever he could open a door or create an opportunity. David's hero was Barnabas, "the son of encouragement." He became Barnabas to so many. David was a Father. He always loved children, and he was crazy about the five wonderful humans God gave him to father. David never "babysat" his children, always caring for them tenderly, laughing with them heartily, disciplining as needed but cheering them on as the unique and gifted people they are. Even in the hard times, he practiced asking for forgiveness and always extended the "radical forgiveness" he experienced because of Jesus. David was "Papa Dave" to fourteen precious grandchildren. They will miss his stories of childhood escapades, silly teasing, endless game playing and tender words of affirmation. David now is enjoying his two other precious grandchildren who went from womb to heaven before him. David was my Husband, my best friend, soul mate, teammate, beloved. Anyone who met him knew how much he loved me...and he still does. The love he poured into me fills me up and permeates every pore of my being. How I treasure 42 years with the love of my life. This year was our 40th year of marriage (38 of them happy, he would say!). During the past year we took time and got counsel to work through the hurt and distance brought about by all the pain and loss. When David passed away, we were happy with each other, delighted in each other's love and with no regrets. David was, as one friend noted, "A man of words and the Word." He was a storyteller, enthusiastic conversationalist, author and editor. He was a mentor to many, many others whose writings reach around the world. David was privileged that his profession was his passion--communicating the life changing message of Jesus Christ as it impacts every sphere of life. David authored and contributed to hundreds of articles and books, including three being released later this year: In God's Image (100 devotions for men); 3 Minute Bible Habit for Men; Journey Through Joshua (Our Daily Bread series, in English and multiple Asian languages). In the last two years, David also continued to write articles published in Crosswalk.com and other online sites. David became a man who loved prayer. Before prayer was a discipline, but then it became joy. As David's health worsened and his pain increased, his world and days constricted him to long hours of sleep, time with God in prayer and studying the Scriptures. He truly prayed for his family and so many others every day. His prayer cards (written on 3"x5" cards) were worn and scribbled on and show an intimacy with His Lord. David had a fall in July 2016 that intensified the damage in his neck and the other conditions that waged against him physically. He had experienced God's healing and deliverance many times before, including this time. But after years of pushing through high levels of pain, David finally met his match. David asked for prayer, and many, many people prayed for healing and relief. Even when none appeared, David was always encouraged and strengthened by these prayers. Please be confident that God heard and used each prayer for something beautiful that we will see in full only in heaven. I think David already sees this. I know that I am carried and carrying on because God is using those prayers to bless me and my family. David was hospitalized on January 5th and asked to come home on January 10th, 2022. He told me then that he had been strong for so long, and he was ready to go home to be with God. He felt God's calling. His children Elizabeth, Shawna and Jonathan came to care for him at home. He spoke with or heard from family members, expressing love to the end. He was ready, even if we were not. He "fought the good fight, finished the race, he kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7). On the morning of January 15, 2022, David's heart stopped beating, his lungs stopped breathing, and he left his very broken body behind. He stepped, alive and well, into the very presence of the Triune God whom he loved. David's greatest desire and joy would be to know that each one would trust in Jesus' life, death and resurrection and become a child of God. He can testify to experiencing true life both here (in this broken world) and in eternity with Jesus (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-3).