This may be the most difficult blog post I’ve ever written. My brother, Shane Hall, is with the Lord. I’ve been given the task of writing this post in honor of Shane and representing all of us here at SBC Voices as we mourn his passing, pray for his wife and girls, and express our love and admiration for this godly pastor. Each of us has been praying for him and have been blessed in different ways by his life and ministry. I personally feel this loss deeply and wanted to share a bit more story as a way of honoring him as he honored our Lord.
I first heard of Shane’s cancer as he was praying for my wife who was battling a much less aggressive form of the disease. Shane checked in with me while my wife was in the hospital and seemed far more concerned with her health and how I was doing spiritually than his own news of a nearly always terminal, aggressive cancer. As he shared with me about the disease, living on the other side of the country, I believed I would never see him in person again. Yet, the next summer at the Convention, there he was. I wept openly as he updated me on his story and what God was doing in his life – a miracle.
Immediately after Dave Miller was elected as Pastor’s Conference president in 2016, I asked Shane if he would preach at the pastor’s conference. I had many reasons for choosing Shane and shared some of our history and my admiration for my brother in an earlier post. Besides our friendship and history, I knew that Shane’s message would be powerful and that he would have the right words to say in a venue meant to encourage pastors as he had so many times encouraged me. I knew, too, that his testimony of God’s healing would be uplifting to the pastors in attendance. Besides all that, it was a small way for me to honor him for his friendship. I loved him as a brother, admired him as a godly man and pastor, and wanted to show that in a practical and tangible way what he meant to me and so many others. Little did I know how God would use that decision.
Shane’s cancer returned later that year and he would be in and out of the hospital several times leading up to the Convention. Health issues kept him from being able to join the other eleven preachers at the preaching colloquium at Southwestern seminary. As the Pastor’s Conference drew closer, he continued to have health issues and we were not sure if he would be able to preach. We had a back-up plan in place, but were praying that Shane would be healthy and able to preach. The Monday he was to preach, we still did not know up to a couple hours before whether he would have the strength to deliver the message he had prepared. We had a stool ready for him to sit if needed, and our back up preacher in the wings.
We got the word late in the afternoon that Shane would be able to preach. Back stage, about an hour before he would take the stage, I found myself in a darkened corner weeping openly. I loved my brother and was overwhelmed by the emotion of it all. When I took Shane to the platform, he had a renewed energy. He was ready to preach and share what God had given him from Philippians 4. Pastor Shane preached a powerful message about the sufficiency of Christ. That “I can do all things through Christ” was a proclamation that “Christ is enough!”
Near the end of his sermon, Shane shared his cancer story. He shared how his stomach had been removed and how he had beaten an unbeatable cancer. The crowd applauded in praise. Then he continued and spoke of how the cancer had returned and that he may not live. He shared his own experience of how he had to “learn” contentment. He shared his struggles and how God had taught him, his wife, and his daughters that Christ is enough. It was a powerful message – one of the best I’ve heard at the conference and certainly the most memorable.
At the end of his sermon, the final sermon of the conference, I brought his wife and girls to the platform. The PC officers, the other preachers and their wives all joined me. No one in the room left. It was my great privilege in that moment to lead in prayer for Shane and his family. Shane had already given me specific instructions: “Pray for God’s will, but pray specifically for healing.” And that I did. God answered by giving Shane eight more months.
Before cancer came into Shane’s life, I would have praised Shane to anyone. He was a godly man, a gifted preacher, an effective pastor, a Baptist statesman, a good friend. He was the kind of man I wanted to be like. In these past years, my esteem for him has grown. Even as he encouraged me and my family in our own battle with cancer, he taught me by his words and by his life what it truly means to trust God.
I am just one among many, many people whose life Shane touched and who loved and admired him. In twenty years of friendship, Shane had already left a lasting impression on me. Now, in these final months and days he left a legacy: Shane Hall lived and proclaimed the glory of God – that if we have Jesus, there is nothing else we need. Christ is enough!
I love you, Shane!
See you in Glory.