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.