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Dance Like the Saved: Remembering Chris Chung

December 1, 2010 by Jong Park

There he was. His shaved head inching toward me and his cancer-ridden body following slowly behind. In Benjamin Button-ish manner, his teen body looked like it barely had the life-force of an octogenarian. I gingerly held him and prayed for him the best way I knew how–in helplessness.

That retreat was three years ago and I can’t get Chris Chung off my mind. Although I was the retreat speaker, this high school kid spoke to me in a way that still resonates in my heart. I preached the Word with my mouth. He preached it with his body.

Although ravaged with germ-cell cancer, Chris served throughout the retreat. He didn’t want to worry anyone so he bravely masked the grimaces when the pain would catch him off guard. The night times were the worst – it’s hard to sleep when your body is a mess.

God graciously blessed the kids throughout the retreat. On the last night of the retreat, the kids broke out into an all out worship celebration. Chris was right there with his friends jumping up and down.

A David Crowder song called “Sing Like the Saved” was a crowd favorite, especially this line: “We’re gonna dance like the saved!”

I am not sure what a saved person’s dance looks like, but the kids seemed to understand that it’s any dance that comes out of a heart that loves the Lord.

It was such a good time until

Chris collapsed.

He got up to dance again.

Bad move.

He blacked out again.

The next day he lost use of his legs. And then a week later, I received a text message: “Chris passed away this morning.” I stood in a holy hush thanking the Lord for Chris.

Later I found out that his family knew of Chris’ impending death. The family prayed about it and Chris decided that he wanted to spend his last few days on earth hearing God’s Word, praying, and worshiping. And that’s exactly what he did. The last thing he did with his legs before they went dead was to dance before the Lord. I’m sure he’s enjoying his new legs in heaven. I can see him dancing with all his might like David danced before the ark. Look Lord, this is for you! 

Who can dance for the Lord while in pain with cancer? The ones who love the Lord. The ones who want to spend their last breath praising the Lord. The saved.

Also, a word to preachers everywhere. I didn’t know it while I was doing it, but it dawned on me that God had appointed me to feed Chris for the last time with His Word while he was alive. What a privilege. I am humbled that I had that task. To this day, I am moved with a deep sense of honor that I got to do that.

Let us never ever underestimate the privilege of feeding God’s people. When we feed God’s people with the Bread of Life, it gives them spiritual energy to dance for the Lord… even when they have cancer.

I’ll see you Chris.
Keep dancing.

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