Jeff Smith’s Last Testimony — “God Loves Me!”

26 June 2013.  My friend jumped the queue, joining the perfected Heavenly chorus and leaving the rest of us to feebly try to praise the Lord adequately here on earth.  Hardly seems fair that a guy younger than me should jump ahead and get there before I do. 🙂

I always want hymns with a message to match the sermon.  Jeff’s attitude could usually be summed up as, “Whatever, as long as they are good ones.”  Now, he’ll always be singing the best song, and he’ll never forget the words or hit a wrong note, either.

28 April.  Two months before Promotion Day.  Jeff preached a testimony (how else to describe it?) at Almond Valley Baptist Church in Livingston.  A week later, he couldn’t even sit up on his own.  But that day God gave grace to stand and speak for 30 minutes.  His speech was affected by the tumour, as shown in the videos, but God gave much better clarity of thought, memory, and speech than I’d seen for a while.

Jeff spoke on the importance of truth:

One of the things that happens with people sometimes is they adjust their truth according to their circumstances….

The truth stays the same.  And it’s not up to me to change the truth to fit my circumstances, it’s up to me to change my circumstances to fit the truth.

He told them his favourite story about asking for a tumour.  As the tumour affected his memory the last couple years, I heard the story more than once — he loved to tell it, forgot that he’d told me before, and I enjoyed hearing it. 🙂

I have a brain tumour because I asked for it.  Believe it or not.

In 2000, in the latter part of the year, I examined my life.  Yeah, I’m a preacher.  And I prayed for Romans 8:28 to be true, if you want to turn there.  I would try to quote it, but it probably wouldn’t come out right.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.”

I was examining my life, and I said, “You know, there’s nothing really traumatic that’s ever happened in my life to know that that verse is true.  I preach it to be true.  How can I say it’s true if I don’t know it’s true?” 

And I said to the Lord, I said, if I had a brain tumour, or if I got in an accident and was paralysed, or if one of my children died, I wanted to know that that verse was true, and that I would not be a Christian that says, “What happened to God?”  I wanted to know that I would stay faithful to God.

And about six months later, in April of 2001, He took me up on this prayer! 🙂 He chose A).  Brain tumour.  And so in April 2001 I had a brain tumour.  I said it was the greatest experience I ever had in my life! 

Shellie has often said, she said it’s like I had gotten saved.  I had such joy in the hospital.  I was pretty miserable, but I had great joy.  Because one thing I discovered was how much God really loved me.

God loves me!

Finding the Lord:

It’s very true that when the Lord says, “Seek Me, ye shall find Me.”  I found Him.  And I found Him to be true.

His was a human message with human shortcomings, but its essence is indisputable.  If you don’t have time to listen to it all, get the story of asking for the brain tumour, at about 14 minutes of part one.  Oh, and don’t miss the first few minutes, about truth.  Or the start of part two, getting to know God better.  Or the reason for the third recurrence (“it was for others”) at about four minutes of part two.  Oh, just watch the whole thing. 🙂

Tuesday evening with Jeff, by God’s grace I hit on Psalm 48.  As I finished reading the last verse, I looked up and his eyes were eloquent, though his lips wouldn’t work anymore.  I posted it yesterday morning, knowing it was probably his day, and two hours later, as a hymn writer said, he passed “from here to life.”

For this God
is our God
for ever and ever:

He will be our Guide
even unto death.

 

Related:
Just a Brain Tumour
What Else Can I Do?
To Serve the Lord Perfectly
To Know the Lord Better
The Lord is Still Working
Do YOU Know?

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
This entry was posted in Ambassadors for Christ, Daily Christianity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Jeff Smith’s Last Testimony — “God Loves Me!”

  1. Cynthia says:

    Beautiful!

  2. Pastor Lou Guadagno says:

    I will miss bro Jeff he did more for the work of God than he new. He was my friend and I will miss his smiling face.
    Bro Lou G

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Brother Lou, he is STILL doing more for the Lord’s work than he knew, because his testimony (in this sermon here and in other ways) is still impacting lives.

  3. Brian says:

    Thank you Jon for posting this. A testimony of God’s grace made perfect in weakness.

  4. Linda says:

    Thanks Jon that really helped me. And I know the testimony Kenneth left behind for our grandchildren like Brother Lou will always impact their lives.

  5. mike ilardo says:

    I met Bro Jeff several years ago during the annual October Scotland Missions Conference up at Pastor Jim Vanvoltenberg’s church. I am out of Bro Lou’s church in Hamburg NY, Old Time Baptist (oldtimebaptist.com). What stood out even then is how much louder the lives we live PREACH louder than any message we can preach. I don’t recall what Pastor Smith preached on in Scotland (I can barely remember what I preached!) but there are still things that I remember to this day. Even back then I saw Romans 8:28 alive in his life. From his first tumor, he ended up having to wear a hearing aid. On the last day of our trip, Bro Jeff drove us in Bro Jim’s big white passenger van on our 2 hour drive to the airport. It died on us and we needed a jump and a prayer to get us the rest of the way. It basically would stall out if you took your foot of the gas. Well, it died. We pulled into a gas station to work on the van, and I know at least one of our passengers was in panic mode and yelling at him for taking his foot off the gas. I went up to him about it and apologized and explained not to take their yelling personally. He smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I just turn down my hearing aid!”

    I have seen many Christians fight illnesses and they tend to act more like Job’s wife today than Job. I am just as prone to whine and wander as anyone else today. It is definitely encouraging to remember Bro Jeff’s attitude and faith. Someone said a faith that can’t be tested is a faith that can’t be trusted. Bro Jeff shows us the balance of Christianity by his life and his death. Today the view of Christianity is it is this big party and it is a rock and roll atmosphere they try to pump up. The reality is life is hard and when you become a Christian you are not only still in this often miserable world but you now add an enemy, the devil, and you find out how much your own flesh will fight you and how the world will come after you to pull you back. Yet Christianity is the most joyous and most alive in the hard times, and when our backs are to the wall and we have no option BUT GOD, that is when our faith becomes alive. It is not a bed of roses, but a crown of thorns, and we need to not be surprised when adversity comes. Expect it, and know in those times Jesus becomes alive and real to you. At this point, I haven’t had the experience Jeff has, and I don’t know if I would be as daring now to pray for a brain tumor. What I have seen is all things do work together for good.

    One other lesson Bro Jeff taught is he really encouraged me that God is using you even if you don’t see it. Oswald Chambers never thought he was doing much for God, but the opening of his book is John 12:24, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone. His book My Utmost for his Highest, is one of the greatest devotional books there is. Yet it took his death for the seed of his life to grow into something wonderful. Missionary Jim Elliott looked life his life ended before he could make any impact in the Auca Indian tribe, yet after the Indians brutally killed him and others in his group, Jim’s wife was able to love on them and reached that tribe. His legacy lives on. Jeff’s legacy lives on because we don’t serve a dead Saviour. Jeff told Bro Lou he didn’t think he was doing that much for God. I struggle with that. I think we all can fall in that boat, thinking our love for God is in proportion to how big our numbers are. Blog hits. Church attendance. Offerings. Whatever.

    Our lives are like ripples in a pond. Jeff’s life impacted more than he can imagine. People are listening to our lives even when their ears are plugged. I don’t see much fruit from my efforts. I don’t see many blog hits for my efforts. Our lives might not show much. Yet he that loses his live for the Gospel will find it. It means surrendering our lives even if circumstances of life don’t reveal much. Jeff literally gave his life for the gospel and I think now he is starting to see his faith and the results of it. We need not to be discouraged by thinking our lives for God is a waste or that God has forgotten us. Jesus loves me.

    I will close with this. Here is another ripple. I merely wanted to leave a comment and a blog post came out of this. I have a blog on my website. I wasn’t trying to write anything long but when I start I don’t stop. I am stockpiling articles so when I die there is something there I would say!!! I had a very down day a few days ago. Just when I was going to send out invites to my pity party, I turned on the CD player in my wife’s van. She just happened to have this one CD on that is a huge blessing to me.

    It goes like this. God wants to hear you sing, when the waves are crashing round you. When the firing darts surround you, when despair is all you see. God wants to hear your voice when the wisest man has spoken, and said your circumstance is as hopeless as can be. That’s when God wants to hear you sing! HE wants to hear you sing!

    Have we lost our song, Christians? Maybe we need to realign our expectations. Expect adversity, but in it we need to better run TO GOD, instead of RUNNING FROM GOD.

    Jeff ran to God. And now he is singing praises to Him.

    God bless,
    Mike Ilardo
    Old Time Baptist Church
    http://www.ETVFC.org

  6. Pingback: Lessons from a Brian Tumor | End Times Volunteer Fire Co.

Comments welcome! (but please check the comment policy)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s