I have a dear friend who is going through some serious health issues, and all who know him are sending up a lot of prayers. He has a couple of text threads that include his family and friends, and he sends out morning updates to let us know what's happening and how he is doing.
He has always been a meek person who would rather be in the shadows of a crowd instead of the limelight, so stepping forward and being the focus of attention is quite a stretch for him. He and his wife are some of the most generous and kind people I have ever met. In their love and genuine concern for others, it's easy to see the character of Christ, which guides and establishes their personalities.
Since he found out about the cancer, we've learned more about his life, along with his thoughts and views. He enjoys cooking, and it's a real treat to visit with him during the day as we partake of his delicious creations and chat about the goodness of the Lord. Those who know him are aware that he not only appreciates all types of creativity, but he is an artist in his own right and gifted craftsman who loves to work in wood. He spent most of his life as a construction contractor and is respected as a visionary who can build pretty much anything.
I met him years ago when he owned and managed an art gallery here in our hometown. He encouraged me to bring some of my paintings and place them in the gallery, which I did. We are also fellow troupe members in our local theater, where we re-enact old-time radio shows from the 1940s and '50s. We have lots of fun. He is also our sound-effects person, who creates many of the innovative contraptions used in our performances.
In his daily text messages, I appreciate staying informed about his adventures in medical procedures, but I've also detected a much deeper insight that goes far beyond the gamma knife and chemo treatments. It's interesting how he uses different metaphors pertaining to being one with nature. Much of it is basically associated with trusting God when our river becomes whitewater.
You see, another one of his passions is kayaking, and he knows all about the adrenaline and excitement that come with flying down an explosive rapids or calmly floating down a mountain stream on a beautiful sunny day. He talks a lot about meeting us at the creek and the brightness of God's grace and glory being so bright that we will need to wear sunglasses. He uses this analogy, which is near and dear to his heart, because this realm is something he is familiar with while trying to find stability in this new intimidating world of the unknown. As he holds tight to God's hand, he is being used by the Lord to relay the sobering truth that includes taking a closer examination of our life and to realize what is really important.
In Matthew 17:20, Jesus said that a tiny amount of faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountains. Our friend is constantly reminding us that with faith all things are possible and how he is embracing the peace and security of the Trinity. The other day he talked about personality traits and certain characteristics people will remember about us when our journey is over. If we are concerned with who we are and what God wants us to be, this subject is important no matter how old we are or the condition of our health. It's true that eulogies are attempts to paint a picture of someone's life and what they accomplished, but more importantly it's about what type of person they were.
I'm reminded of the story about Ebenezer Scrooge and how he was given an opportunity to not only see a reflection of who he was while he was still alive, but he was also given the chance to try to make things right with God and all those around him.
When facing fearful circumstances and considering how we will respond, we are grateful for God's amazing grace and his unending love that desires our complete attention. Today is the day to start gathering our faith before the giants come knocking at our door. As our thoughtful friend keeps reminding us, "When they do appear, we can rest in God's love and just breathe."
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