Over the last several years, I’ve come to understand that everything happens for a reason, that there are no coincidences in this world. Since having my eyes opened to this, I’ve seen it over and over in my life and the lives of others. Here’s an example.
On April 25, 2012, I was driving up the interstate to talk to my therapist (yes, I was in therapy for several years given the tragedy I had experienced) about marrying career and ministry. Having experienced conversion 6 years earlier and growing in my faith year after year, it was something seriously on my heart. While driving, I received an email from Mark Nehrbas, my eventual predecessor at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I had met Mark as part of Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Pittsburgh.
I pulled over to read the email, then asking Mark to call me. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Moving to another position at the University, Mark was advising his network of the vacancy from his old job…one that matched up to my interests and skill set. When we spoke, he advised me that it was the Feast Day of St. Mark. So it was Mark talking to Mark on the Feast Day of St. Mark, when Mark was on his way to see his therapist about ministry and career. You can’t make this stuff up.
Knowing the Joy of Christ
A week ago Monday, I attended Mark Nehrbas’ funeral. After battling cancer for more than 9 years, Mark died at age 71. Although way too young, it was truly a celebration of his life. The Church was packed…not a spare seat. The Liturgy was beautiful, apparently planned in its entirety by Mark. His 9 children, their spouses, and their kids were a joy to see, as was his wife, Carol…all a testament to Mark’s commitment to faith and family.
During his homily/eulogy, Fr. Tim Shannon indicated that Mark was baptized in the Spirit 52 years ago. Moving to Steubenville over 30 years ago for the Charismatic Renewal, Mark was an active member of the Community of God’s Love. Passionate about sharing the love of Christ and the joy of living life in the Holy Spirit, Mark was a presence in the community and nationally through his work at the University. Always evangelizing, always full of joy, and always smiling. While Mark will be missed, his legacy is significant, centered on his family, second only to Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.
I thank God for Mark, not only for his witness and example, not just for all the work he did at the University as my predecessor…but also because of the impact he had on my journey. Had Mark not sent that email on April 25, 2012, I wouldn’t be at Franciscan University. Had we not talked that day and he so encouraged me, I may not have applied for the job that I’ve had now for 10 years.
Mark talking to Mark on the Feast Day of St. Mark, when Mark was on his way to talk to his therapist about career and ministry. You can’t make this stuff up. No coincidences, no mistakes. Everything happens for a reason, all as per God’s grand plan. Thank you, Mark!! Praise God!!!
Please see this video for an interview Mark gave not long ago on suffering.
As always, please email me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!
Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!