I had looked forward to a long term, close and treasured friendship with this man who I considered a rock of spiritual wisdom and awareness. Whenever I hear the word, “gentleman” I think of Jim. Whenever I hear the words, “a witness for Christ” I think of Jim. Whenever I hear the word “humble” I think of Jim. And whenever I hear the word, “inspiration” I think of Jim. I could go on and on but you get the message.
Not long ago a group of us visited Jim at the local hospital before he was scheduled for a biopsy to determine the cause of his recent and unbearable pain. After we said a prayer for him he asked the orderly to stop for a moment and he said a prayer for us. That was Jim. Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The illness spread to his bones and is now attacking his other organs. The outlook is bleak. But he remains upbeat, positive and above all trusting; trusting in a God of comfort, a God of hope and a God of love.
He now walks with a long pole his daughter bought him in North Carolina which he uses for support. I like to kid him by saying he reminds me of Moses getting ready to part the Red Sea.
A few of us take turns driving him to the cancer center for his radiation treatments and today was my lucky day. And why was it my lucky day? Because of a statement he made on the way home. We were discussing if he was at all frightened and his response was, “I am only worried I haven’t done enough for the Lord.” What a Spirit driven reply.
Paul felt the same as he wrote,
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men,
since you know that you will receive
an inheritance from the Lord.”
Jim’s faith is testimony to all and a reminder that God is with us always, even through times of suffering, adversity and heartbreak.
Not long ago Jim was readmitted to the hospital for the last time. Dena brought him two books he requested to read; his Bible and a copy of my first book. What an honor.
This morning I received word that Jim finally received his inheritance from the Lord.
What more can I say?