I was honored to attend and participate in the funeral of US Army Specialist Garrett Fant on October 7th, 2011 in South Lake Tahoe. The prestigious military funeral, although extremely sad, was very impressive. The General who attended representing the Secretary of the Army shared some very kind words about Garrett and his service. He concluded by saying "The boy became a man, became a soldier, and became a hero". It was one of those special occasions that leaves you with chills and makes you proud to be an American.
My remarks were very brief...
On behalf of the Free Will Baptist Church, please know that our hearts and prayers are with Garrett's entire family and circle of friends.
Psalm 139:16 "...In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them"
God has written all of our stories in His book. Garrett's story was written by God long before Garrett entered this world. As we gather today, some of us were privileged to enjoy a page or two from his story, others a chapter or two, and still others were blessed to enjoy the entire story. We would all agree, his was a great story...and like all great stories, it has left us wanting more.
Every story has a hero. In Garrett's story, he played many roles. Garrett was a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, a soldier, and today a hero to us all.
I came to know Garrett through his father, John Fant, in American Canyon where I served as pastor of the Free Will Baptist Church. Garrett attended church several times before enlisting in the Army. He was a fine young man. He attended once more after returning from his Basic Training and he had become an even better man. I have prayed for him often over the past few years.
Garrett played a special role in his father's life, he was John's only son...John, I want to remind you and Julia today that your Heavenly Father loves you and that He knows very well the pain and sorrow your are experiencing. He knows from his own personal experience, for the scripture says...
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
We are forever indebted to God for His great and loving sacrifice, and today we are all indebted to Garrett and your family for the tremendous sacrifice that you have made for all of us as Americans.
Because of God's love and willingness to give His only son, we all have hope of eternal life and this is why we, as believers, "sorrow not as others who have no hope". We have hope of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
And this hope of eternal life is what assures us that US Army Specialist Garrett Fant's story did not end on a battlefield somewhere in Afghanistan...He simply received new orders...He was reassigned to Heaven's shores.
And because of Eternal Life we believe that in God's book, where Garrett's story was written long ago, the final sentence is...
"And He Lives Happily Ever After"
May God bless each of your in the days that lay ahead. Our prayers are always with you. As you make your way through this dark valley, be sure of this...God is with you.
We need to pray daily for our young men and women who serve us all. They give their lives to protect us and preserve the life that we love and enjoy as Americans. We shouldn't reserve our admiration and appreciation for fallen soldiers, but rather share them with all of our soldiers, past and present. I have some thank you notes and phone calls to make during the next few weeks.