Nigel Lee died in the early hours of Thursday 30th March (UK time).
1 Thessalonians 4.13-17
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
One conversation with Nigel sticks in my mind as particularly formative for me and particularly characteristic of him. It was my second year on UCCF staff, a difficult time for me in many ways. We were talking about eternity; I had said that eternity, was taking up more and more of my mental energy and hope. He smiled (and when he smiled, it was big) and encouraged me that the depth of our love for eternity is one of the measures of the fullness of our maturity. He spoke of friends who faced suffering and death, counting it as but short-term inconvenience for the sake of eternity and the gaining of Christ. It made a great impact on me, and still does today.
Paul, the Apostle, wrote in Philippians 1.20-23
It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.
It seems that the Lord no longer saw it necessary to withhold the glories of eternity for Nigel. His family will know the loss most keenly, his friends will miss him too - the church (local and global) can give thanks for a man who has stood for Christ and led many to him. For Nigel himself, it is gain, all gain - for now he has more of Jesus and no more suffering.
I praise God for the priviledge of having known Nigel personally.