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Even in our grief, we have hope

Remembering a co-worker in the Kingdom

By Michael Thompson, OneWay President

A few weeks ago, I lost a longtime close friend and co-worker in the Kingdom.

Peter was a friend before OneWay even existed. Then, in OneWay’s early days, he was a part of the founding team, meeting with us each week in 2006 in our basement. A group of five to seven of us met each Monday night. We gathered around a portable table with a projector displaying our dreams and strategies to reach the lost world for Christ. Many of those dreams have become reality.

I treasure the fact that Peter was a part of laying that foundation, in addition to serving in a variety of ways through the years.

But on Aug. 15, Peter Graeme Walker unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord.

The family sent me a few photos for a video we’re putting together for them. My stomach just ached.

He was just in his 50s and healthy. He had beat tough odds and was a seven-year cancer survivor.

My wife, Rachel, and I had just spent an evening with Peter and his wife a few weeks earlier. We hung out for hours — in fact, until after midnight. The last thing I talked about that night was how I treasure friendships like theirs that last over a lifetime.

For Peter, in his life, his work, his marriage and family, all was well and life was good. On a Monday morning, in just a few moments, he had some heart trouble at his desk. Then he was gone.

There is no spin here. It is really painful to lose someone like Peter. Shocking.

We grieve for his incredible wife, Marie, who was clearly his best friend. And for his two young adult daughters, Evelyn and Emily, who lost more than a dad. They lost a dear friend, cheerleader and hero.


This is the word I love that shows up halfway through so many Psalms. When it all seems dark, that word shows up and gives the bigger picture.

But… there is more to the story. It is still unfolding. And it ends with those of us who know Christ, together again, living happily ever after. It will happen soon.

But… there is more to the story. Peter is alive. He is not present with us, but very much alive and present with the LORD. Yes, death is temporarily around those of us still on earth, but not for long.

In the midst of very real and justifiable anguish, the Walker family is not without hope, or even cause for celebration. Many non-believing friends and neighbors of theirs are in hopeless despair. They don’t know Christ. I’m so thankful that Peter did.

Can you imagine what your life or your future would be like without a Savior? I can only shudder.

It is in these moments it becomes crystal clear that the highest priority and greatest cause in the world is for ALL people to know Christ. He is the only Name under heaven by which we can be saved.

Nothing new here — just an urgent reminder to do whatever we can for those here, near and far who don’t have the priceless treasure of eternal life Peter now enjoys.

Yes, Peter is more alive than ever before. Not because we have some fairy tale religious nice sayings. He is alive because of one and only one person: Jesus.

So first of all, let’s mourn. And mourn with those who mourn. If you know the Walker family, please just reach out and support them. For those who are in Chicagoland, Peter’s Celebration of Life service is 10 a.m. Sept. 9 at The Compass Church, 1551 East Hobson Road, Naperville, IL 60540.

Secondly, let’s celebrate. Jesus entered the scene. He was tortured, died, and rose — and miraculously transported Peter home from this fallen world in that same vein of resurrection. Absent from the body, present with the LORD. Awesome. And real.

Lastly, let’s just keep giving our best for the rescue of those that still need Christ. I am quite sure it isn’t just what Jesus wants. It’s what Peter would want for us as well.

May God grant grace and peace to the Walker household until He reunites them again.


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