I met Rachel Sawyer in the Fall of 1991 when I began attending a Christian gathering at the University of Western Ontario. At the time, Rachel was the president of the group—already a mentor among her peers.
I confess that, even with the onset of facebook, I have lost contact with many of my friends from that time. The same might be true of my relationship with Rachel if she hadn’t married my friend, Neil Barkey. (Neil was my counselor at Muskoka Woods when I was a teenager). I haven’t seen Neil or Rachel in many years, but have tracked their lives with interest through our mutual friends.
On March 4, Rachel delivered a message to nearly 600 women at the River Rock Show Theatre in Vancouver BC. The title of her message was, “Death is not Dying: A Faith That Saves” (sponsored by Westside Church).
Rachel Barkey is dying of cancer, but as she wrote in a January email, “God will use this for His glory. There is no doubt. And, in the depths of my sadness, that makes my heart glad.”
As a preacher, I sometimes field comments about the length of Sunday messages–mainly from those who wish them to be no more than 20 minutes in length. Rachel’s message was 55 minutes long, and I hung on her every word. Her message oozed with sincerity, integrity, and biblical truth.
Rachel’s message has 4 prongs: 1) Know God, 2) Know Yourself, 3) Know The Gospel, and 4) Know Your Purpose
Rachel’s perspective of God demonstrates a thorough understanding of the Scriptures and an unshakable faith. In the midst of suffering, she persists, “God is good. He is in control. And He is fair.”
In a message saturated with grace and wisdom, one of my favourite sections was Rachel’s response to those who have been asking ‘Why?’ ‘Why would God allow a young mother of two young kids to get cancer?’
In Rachel’s words:
I don’t ask why because I know the answer: We live in a sinful world. Bad things happen. But it was not supposed to be this way. And it will not always be this way. God has a plan. He has made a way for sinful people to be with Him in a perfect world. The way is Jesus.
Suffering has tested, but not shaken the faith of Rachel Barkey. Her testimony is nothing short of inspiring. Rachel’s message (below) is one of the best explanations of the Christian message I have ever heard. Moreover, her message is one of the best explanations of why things are the way they are that I have ever heard. Listening to Rachel Barkey this morning was an outstanding way to spend an hour of my day. The least I can do is encourage those who read this blog to have the same opportunity to spend an hour well.
Rachel was recently a guest on The Drew Marshall Show and her interview can be heard here.
Rachel Barkey went to be with her Lord on July 2, 2009.
Rachel’s testimony continues to be the most read post on this blog.