We gather this morning to mourn the loss and also to celebrate the life of Don Hainline. As we do so we ask God for His strength and look to His Word for comfort. In the Bible we read these words,
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
The Apostle Paul wrote,
We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.
Today we have the difficult job of looking past what we see in the midst of sadness and loss so we can see what is eternal, wonderful and that which can give us hope.
Will you pray with me?
Father, we gather together in this time of pain to find your strength, your comfort, and your life. We ask you to draw us close to you. Please help us to do several things today. Help us to remember the life of Don Hainline. Help us to remember how he lived and the impact he made. Second, help us to realize how you have blessed us through Don so that we might give you thanks. Finally we ask you to help us to look past the pain and limitations of this world so that we can find strength and hope in Jesus Christ. Help us to this end, we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Mr. Donald D. Hainline, was born November 8, 1932 in Macomb Illinois, the son of Fred and Florence Dertinger Hainline. As a boy Don enjoyed his life. When he met Donna L. Paul at the fair in Rushville on the 4th of July he was smitten. In their courtship he fought off high water, blizzards and whatever else came his way in order to win her heart. They were married on May 15, 1955 in Bushnell. They celebrated their 54th anniversary just last week.
Don served in the Air Force during the Korean War and served for many years in the reserves. He farmed near Sciota for many years and also worked at WIU in the building services department, retiring as a supervisor. After retirement he enjoyed working with livestock. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge #322 in Bushnell and the Sciota Methodist Church. He died on Sunday, May 17th at 5:30 p.m.
He is survived by his wife Donna
David (Peg) Hainline of Good Hope, Illinois,
Denita (Steve) Clover of Dallas City, Illinois and
Delinda (Tim) Burke of Good Hope,
and one sister, Leah Thompson of Athens, Georgia.
He was preceded in death by 2 granddaughters and his parents.
I did not know Mr. Hainline. It is always interesting to listen to and watch a family as they talk about their family member. As Don’s family talked about him their comments were filled with gratitude, appreciation and love.
Don Hainline lived for his family. When he got married he took his commitment seriously. He was determined that he would be the provider that his family needed. No matter what the need, Don desired to meet it.
One day Denita didn’t want to go to school because the band was playing in a parade in LaHarpe and she did not want to have to play the broken down piccolo the school had for her. Don made her go to school in spite of her dread and embarrassment. After arriving at school her dad showed up with a brand new piccolo.
Don provided musical instruments, he chaperoned events, he helped out with 4H and he was always in the stands cheering on his kids or grandkids. In fact, Don intentionally worked nights so he could be available to go to the kids activities during the day. Don was a “hands on” dad before it was popular. After Don had his stroke in 2003 one of the things that motivated him to work hard at his physical therapy was the drive to watch Nick pitch.
Don made sure his kids had vehicles to drive. He pushed them to attend and finish college. When they got married he made sure they had good freezers and worked to keep them supplied with meat. When his parents were older, Don made sure they were taken care of as well. He was a good son.
Don liked to farm, he loved livestock, and he enjoyed raising a huge garden. He may have enjoyed giving away the things he grew in his garden (especially his giant turnips) most of all. He was a generous man.
Don always seemed to have a dog and really enjoyed being able to transport livestock after he retired. He felt that animals (except pigs) were much nicer and more enjoyable than most of the people you met in life.
Don also liked to eat. He enjoyed eating out with Donna and he was always ready for some custard or Gooseberry pie. He enjoyed reading and especially enjoyed westerns.
Most of all Don loved his children and he loved his grandchildren. He was enjoying being a Great Grandpa. He had various nicknames for the kids like “skeezits” and “dutchie”. He wasn’t the kind of guy to give you big hugs and kisses; he was more likely to pinch you or rub his scraggly beard against your cheek. The message was the same: He loved you. Jennifer remembers Grandpa calling on Saturday mornings to ask, “Feel like a Dilly Bar?” They would head up get a dilly bar, eat it, and go home. When Jennifer wanted a bonfire for her friends he made her one of the biggest and hottest bonfires you can imagine. I get the distinct sense that Don wanted to make sure his kids, grandkids and great-grandchildren enjoyed their lives. He found his greatest joy in giving of himself to bring joy to them.
The nice thing about being part of Don’s family is that you always knew the right thing to do: This is because the right thing was whatever Don said it was! Don had strong opinions and did not mind expressing those opinions. He was known to bark a little at people . . . (especially when he was frustrated) but the bark was much worse than the bite. You always knew where you stood with him and you usually knew what his expectations were.
Don was a planner. He was always looking ahead and anticipating obstacles. He would buy his gifts for Donna early (he liked to buy roses or jewelry). He would hide them, and then tell some family member where the gifts were hid “just in case”. He already knew what they were going to get for Aiden’s Christmas present and had already decided what he was going to do for his Grand-daughter’s wedding. He even went out and bought a bunch of burial plots for the family so that they would be prepared.
All of this was Don Hainline’s way of providing for his family. It was his life’s mission. We are here today to proclaim, “Mission Accomplished.”
Donna Hainline has written a poem in memory of her husband.
In Memory of Don
It was a bright Sunday in May
The angel of death came and carried you away
With your loving family at your side
You drew your last breath before you died.
No more wise advice from your lips will fall
But we will remember and heed it all
We will miss your concern for the plain common folk
To the fun you would have with a practical joke.
It must have been quite a reunion that night
Joining your folks, Jenny, Amanda and all out of our sight
When you departed this earth for your home above
We sent you to Heaven with all of our love.
May we always live our lives in such a way
That we will join you in eternity some day.
It’s with hearts that you left our life
Sadly missed by your children, grandchildren and wife,
Dad, Grandpa, pa pa Great-Grandpa we will do our best
Look down, guide us and enjoy your well-deserved rest.
We will listen for the bells to ring
For every time a bell rings; an angels gets his wings
Jesus was talking to his disciples one time and said to them,
Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my fathers house are many mansions; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go and prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. You know the way to the place where I am going…Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me.
What drew me to this text is the fact that Jesus is telling us that Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. I think that Don would have appreciated the whole notion of being prepared.
Jesus recognized that in the time of loss our hearts are filled with all kinds of questions. We wonder: “Is this all there is?” “Is there anything beyond the grave?” “Will we ever see this person again?” These are natural questions that everyone asks. Jesus doesn’t give us details he just says, “Trust me.”
We have good reason to trust Jesus. He was not some crack pot spouting off his theories; He was born supernaturally of a virgin, he lived a perfect life, He died a sacrificial death and here’s the clincher…. . .He rose from the dead. It seems to me that this makes him a credible witness.
Jesus tells us a couple of things. First, he tells us that He has prepared a place for his followers. If you travel on vacation you might make reservations at a hotel. You reserve a room so you don’t have any anxiety as you travel. You know that there is a room waiting for you. This is what Jesus is telling us: He has already set aside a room for us he wants us to face our journey into the future without anxiety.
I think of it like when a family has a big gathering and a block of rooms is set aside in a hotel for a period of time. All the family members need to do is call in and request one of the rooms in the block. It is kind of like that with Heaven. The Father has provided rooms. Jesus has paid the price for the rooms . . . our job is to request one of the rooms.
Second, Jesus told the disciples that no one can come to the Father except through Him. In other words, the way to make a reservation in the house that God has prepared for us is to put our trust and confidence in Jesus.
There are two common views about Heaven. One view seems to say that everyone who dies goes to Heaven . . . . .except maybe the really really bad people. The other view says that those people who live good lives go to Heaven. The Bible says neither is true.
The Bible tells us that none of us have lived a good enough life to earn God’s favor or what we often think of as “heaven”. Even the best of us sin . . . and with great regularity. Think about it, even if we only sinned (did what was wrong in God’s eyes either in thought, word, or deed) three times a day (which would be a staggeringly very good day for most of us), that would be 21 times a week . . . almost a thousand times a year! By the end of our lives we would have committed tens of thousands of sins. Our sin-debt is greater than we could ever hope to pay.
That’s where Jesus comes on the scene. The Bible tells us that Jesus died to pay for the sin we have committed. The only condition for His payment to be applied to our account is that we be truly sorry for our wrong-doing and place our hope, faith, and confidence in Jesus. The Bible is clear, only those who sincerely and truly trust Jesus Christ will be granted Heaven. Sincere trust is not a prayer you pray; it is a new orientation to life. To really “have faith” or “believe” in Jesus means being willing to follow Him and rest in what he has done for us.
My favorite riddle is this: three frogs are sitting on a log and two them decide to jump in the water. How many frogs are left on the log? The answer is three because deciding to jump and actually jumping are two different things.
There are many people who have decided that Jesus is the Savior. They have decided that he is worth following. However, they have never “jumped”. They have never really put their trust and faith in Him.
For those who have believed (or jumped), death is not the end of the story; it is merely the end of the introduction to the story. The reservation for Heaven has been confirmed. Death becomes nothing more than our arrival time.
In later years of life Don Hainline was not a church-goer. He grew up in the Sciota Methodist church and believed it was important for his family to grow up in the church, but as schedules became more hectic Don got out of the habit of attending the church.
I think church attendance is an important step in following Jesus. However, I must point out that Jesus did not say, “No one comes to the Father unless they go to church.” There are people who go to church every week who really have not put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. They have decided but they haven’t jumped. Likewise, I believe there will be people who have “jumped” or trusted Christ but were not involved (for some reason or another) in the church. Only God knows if Don Hainline falls into that category.
If Don had placed his faith and trust in Christ then Sunday was not a bad day for him. Though it was the end of his earthly life, it was only the beginning of his heavenly life. Though he was leaving some family behind he was also being reunited with other family members he has surely missed for many years. The promise of Christ is that those who come to God through Him will discover that death means
- Limitations will give way to new freedom
- Struggle will give way to delight
- Confusion will give way to understanding
- Struggle will give way to vitality
Best of all, we will get to meet, know, and love fully the One who gave Himself for us.
In a sense, our grief today is for our loss . . . not Don’s. He has lost little compared to what he has found.
As we reflect on the life of Don Hainline then I would suggest we take some lessons from his life away with us
- Family is important. The best legacy we can give others is an example of love and graciousness.
- Sharing brings a joy that is deeper than accumulating
- Planning ahead means you will always be prepared.
- There is always time for pie
- If you don’t think you are right, keep your mouth shut. If you do think you are right, let everyone know.
- The most important plan to make and the most important thing to be “right” about is our trust in Christ. It is the only way to plan for life after we die.
- The thing that people cherish most is not what you accomplished in life; they cherish the love you demonstrated.
- Finally, we learn that you influence others one kind act at a time.
Let’s pray together,
Our Father, we ask you to draw us close today. Thank you for your promise. It gives us comfort in this time of loss.
I pray that you, in your mercy, grace, and wisdom would welcome Don into your Kingdom on the basis of the work of Jesus. Please lead him to the home that you have prepared for Him.
Father, I pray for this family. Keep their memories sharp. Help them to take the seeds of love that have been planted in them and continue to share those seeds with others.
Lord, help Donna as she adjusts to life without her partner. Be her strength and her comfort during this time. Help us to plan ahead for eternity by the faith we develop now. We ask all this is Jesus’ name. Amen.