On Saturday, January 24 Norman Goehring went to be in the sweet arms of His Savior. I cannot even begin to describe the journey that he and his family have had to face. But this I DO know: the Lord never once left Norman's side. And if he were here today, he would tell you the same.
Norman was a loving Husband, a wonderful father, and a dear friend. His laugh could be heard wherever he went; that deep-down, contagious laugh that could brighten the darkest place and put a smile on everyone's face. No one who knew Norman could help but love his laugh. When I was younger I used to spend the night a lot with his daughter, Ariel. Many times we'd wake up in the morning to the smell of pancakes or waffles and we'd shuffle our sleepy selves into the kitchen and receive not only a plateful of good things but the biggest, warmest smile. He put up with a lot from the two of us and, more often than not, would end up laughing in the background as we (literally) buried our faces in syrupy pancakes or made ridiculous home video "commercials" advertising that mornings milk: *hoity toity English accent* "It's like Orbit.....Orbit gum. It's good for your bones" *giggles in the background.* I still remember the way he would look at us with a gleam in his eye and say, "Oh, Brother!"
Norman was also a very faithful and caring elder in our church. His sincere love was a blessing to many people. Even in his last days on this earth, when his only form of communication was though letter charts and blinking, he ministered. To hear Philippians 1 read at his request was like hearing Norman speak again. He loved that passage and would very often ask people to read it out loud. Through that and other Scriptures, he'd counsel, admonish, encourage, and build people up. Probably, for me, one of the most memorable and faith building things about Norman was that (according to Debra, his wife) he never once ventured to accuse God or ask why he had been handed such a hardship. Instead he'd say "Why not?" Only faith that comes from the one true God could have produced such a response. If Christ were only a "good teacher" (as some might say), Norman would not have been able to say that with such peace in his eyes. Now that is a witness. In fact, on the very day that Norman went to be with the Lord, a few who were with him happened to notice that some workers in the facility came across my dad's bible lying in the hallway and stopped to page through it for a while. Based on previous conversations they were probably looking for what is was that made Norman and his family tick. They couldn't understand how Norman and those around him could have so much peace about his situation. They looked in the right place. Even though Norman is no longer here in person, the memory of his faith and his steadfastness will stay for a long long time.
If you would like to attend his memorial service, it is being held at New Hope Community Church in Clovis at 1:00 pm this Friday (the 30th of January).
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." ~ Ephesians 3:20-21