This past Friday, I attended the funeral services for John Paul George. John Paul was not supposed to survive longer than a few days after birth, but through prayer and God’s grace, he grew into a fine young man, a story the George family recounted in their book, Heart of a Lion. While his loss is tragic, too soon, and heartbreaking, the profoundly positive impact he’s had on his family, friends, and community serves as a silver lining. When it came to sharing his faith and encouraging others, John Paul was a giant among us. Though he only lived into his early twenties, the amount of Christ’s love he shared with others is enough for us all to aspire to.
At the end of the funeral service, John Paul’s parents, Derek and Annette, spoke. How they could face such an impossible task is a testament to not only their faith, but to who their son was. As they spoke about their child, Annette was kind enough to share some words from John Paul’s private journal that she had just seen for the first time after he passed. Personally, I was so moved by his insight and love for God that I wanted to share his words with anyone who would listen (or read). Derek and Annette graciously agreed to me doing so in this post. Here are a few excerpts from John Paul’s personal journal.
“Everyone has a purpose in this world because of God. Everyone has a mission to fulfillment. We are all children of Christ. We all must remember God is love. Love can be expressed in many ways in our everyday life, but the greatest of all is love in Christ. When Christ died for us, flesh and blood revealed itself to us by pain and suffering to death. Even death on a cross. There is no greater love than this as Christ gave himself for the world in the ultimate sacrifice.”
-John Paul George
“Losing family encourages us to find our family not by bond of genetic blood that is our families, but by love. By love of those who comfort us who are not our families by our blood, but become our families through love. Together they cherish us through good and bad. Love is the bond by God that holds all men together.”
-John Paul George
In concluding John Paul’s funeral services on Friday, Father Aidan Lacy summarized it best when he said that John Paul had been known to have the heart of a lion in this world, but now, he is one with the heart of the Lion of Judah.