I Hate Living in a Fallen World (bad news)

I received some very bad news this week. One of my very closest ministry friends, Patrick McGoldrick, has been diagnosed with ALS. I have learned more about ALS in the last couple of days than I knew in the last couple of decades. The current average life expectancy from diagnosis is two to five years – although 25% of those diagnosed live longer than five years.

Patrick and Dena have been important and influential friends in our lives. When I was a youth pastor, I had no closer youth pastor friend than Patrick. Twice a year we hung out together for a week at a time through our youth ministries. We even went on the same mission trip together with our students one year (2000). I grew up with Dena and our families were close friends – so she and I have known each other most of our lives. Patrick and Dena were also our primary influencers on our view of parenting. We watched them parent their first child and told each other, "I don't know what they are doing, but we are going to parent like that!" And we asked a lot of questions and they influenced us in a huge way. Although in recent years, we no longer see each other every year – Patrick is still a close, dear friend and my heart is breaking for him and Dena. and their two great kids!

I also find myself overwhelmed by how much I hate living in a fallen world. I hate that we live in a fallen world where disease comes to those who love God. I hate that we live in a fallen world where death separates families. I hate that sin doesn't just impact the sinner. Sin that entered the world through Adam impacts all of us. And it is painful that my friends, Patrick and Dena, are living such painful consequences of living in a fallen world.

I am experiencing a lot of sorrow this week over this news, but not as one with no hope. I have a great and eternal hope! And so do my friends Patrick & Dena! But this week… I'm just sad.



  1. David,
    The McGoldricks have been on my mind and in our prayers since we learned the sad news earlier this week.
    Ironically, prior to reading the news, Patrick’s name had come up in a discussion here at home last weekend – we were discussing attending December Bills’ games. While in college, I had gone to a December Bills game with Patrick the day after my sister’s wedding in Buffalo, as he was my ride back to BBC and had somehow acquired two tickets to the Sunday game at Rich Stadium. He was cheering for the Bills’ opponent that day (the Raiders, maybe??), and felt he needed a sign in his hand to show his support for his team as he sat in the opponent’s stadium – all he had was notebook paper in his truck, so he made a sign with that!! I am not too sure many fans saw his sign, but as I recall, his team pulled off the win, in spite of the blizzard-like weather we sat through. 🙂
    The date of that game was December 11, 1988. Only God could know that 23 years later, to the day, Patrick would have to stand up before his church family and deliver the sad news of his diagnosis.
    We continue to cover their entire family with our prayers.
    Nahum 1:7 – “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”

  2. a dear friend died of ALS less than a year after his diagnosis 2 years ago. it is a horrific disease, but please remember that whatever is happening to the body, the mind remains the same. treat your friend with the same love and care and humor as ever. praise God that he has a new and perfect body to look forward to.

  3. Joe has a shirt that reads, “Cancer stinks,” but you’re right about the real culprit – sin. It should read, “Sin stinks.” In that Grief booklet you guys sent us, one of the things that hit home with us was that our grief is rooted in the understanding that sin is in *this* world; and knowing that we still have to wait for a world without sin. We know, in our minds, that God loves us, that He loves our loved ones more than we do, and that He works out all things for the good of those who serve him. Sometimes, it’s hard to know that stuff in our hearts, though. But we can rejoice in the deep, emotional connections with other people that God has given us. We can even get to a point so as to be happy in the knowledge that our loved one will beat us into the eternal presence of our Lord. Our longing for Heaven deepens (I still remember the sermon series you did on that in ’03 or ’04!) as we long for those who are there or on their way. And, truly, we begin to see Heaven as our real home, not Earth. We begin to see how things are meant to be – a life lived in holy awesomeness. And we begin to see God in an entirely different way – my big “aha!” moment came when I finally realized that God IS the best parent for Alyssa. That He could, can, and will do more for her than I can ever imagine. I had to realize that the moment she began living in Heaven, Alyssa didn’t see her suffering like we do; it means nothing to her, just a blip on the screen of life. And one day, when we meet again (at the 7th pearly gate per her instructions!) she’ll barely even realize our separation. And what a sweet, sweet moment it will be when we scoop her up into our arms again.

    We’re praying for you guys and your friends. It’s not easy, it’s not what you’d choose, but it’s not forever, either. Praise the Lord for his eternal salvation, for his tender mercies, and for his putting into our lives those special enough to get their reward before us.

  4. Hello David,
    My name is David Cook. I recently visited with a Mark Nelson and Scott Bixby up at Northridge. I’m a BBC grad and a Pastor in Cuba NY. Anyway. I just wanted to let you know that one of our Elders at our church had ALS and was healed by God of this incurable disease. He’s a living miracle and he loves to tell his story. I can hook you up with his number sometime if you want.

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