John 1:6-7 – There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through Him all men might believe. (NIV)
There was a man sent from God whose name was Jim. God chose him to be a witness to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, so that all men who believed on the name of Christ might receive the gift of eternal life.
When Jim came to Jesus, he made a complete commitment of his life to serve the Lord in any way His Father requested.
Thus, the Lord equipped him with many specific gifts and talents in order to carry out his divine assignment.
To begin with, he was filled with love by the Holy Spirit, and he shared this love unconditionally and generously with all he came in contact with. And the love was always wrapped in a warm hug.
He was gifted with a special charisma that attracted people to him so that he could share his Lord in any number of ways.
If anyone had a need and Jim heard about it, he was there to help, be it in a material way or a spiritual way. He was given a scholar's mind, and he loved to study the Scriptures, which he shared in teaching Bible studies, counselling, and always in his everyday walk with the Lord.
He was a family man, and the primary desire of his heart in this situation was that each of his children would come to know Jesus Christ personally as Saviour and Lord. And God answered his prayer.
He was never sick, and he cared for his body in the same manner as he cared for his spirit, because he knew that his "body is a temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV).
At age 73, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia. For two long, pain-filled years, many hundreds of people prayed for his healing, and we believed God would answer that prayer.
However, the day after we had shared a wonderful Christmas family celebration in 2012, he fell and struck his head, which resulted in a massive brain bleed. He never regained consciousness, and that same evening, the Lord called him home. Never once during all of this time did he utter the words so many of us tend to say when our suffering is intense and on-going, namely "Why, Lord?"
His wisdom and his beliefs were summed up in the single sentence he lived by: "Everything that comes to us in this life is Father-filtered." Living with the certainty of that knowledge is a wonderful source of comfort, encouragement, and peace.
I am proud to say that this man was my brother-in-law, and I loved him deeply.
As I considered the life of this man whose entire purpose was to glorify God in all that he did, the Holy Spirit challenged me to evaluate my own spiritual walk in light of Jim's total dedication. Many incisive questions arose in my mind, and you might join me in pondering them.
In all honesty, how deep is my commitment to my Lord? Is it full-time or part-time? Do I put Him first in every area of my life by faithfully reading His Word prayerfully and meditating on how it applies to me? Do I make the time to listen for my Father's daily instructions before I rush off every morning to do my own thing? Am I using the time, the talents, the strength, and the material gifts God has so freely given to me to help others by sharing His love in a meaningful and practical way?
Now I am left to deal with the answers. How about you?
Prayer: Father, teach us to accept all that comes into our lives, whether for better or for worse in our estimation, as Your perfect will. Help us not to question or to become bitter but to live in the truth of Romans 8:35 and 37 (NIV): "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "This Is My Father's World" (Lyrics)