Today I’m reflecting on the faith and life of a great man. My friend Lee (that I mentioned in week one of the Jeremiah videos…) met Jesus face to face this morning. Just a few weeks ago, Lee and I talked about 1 Corinthians 13:12 – “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”
Lee knows everything completely now. He fought his Glioblastoma brain cancer to the very end, but he lived the truth of Romans 8:28 as his theme for living, believing that God would use “all things” for good in his life – the good things, the normal things, and even the excruciatingly painful things.
I count it a privledge to have known and spent time with such an incredible man of God. Today my eyes randomly fill with tears – not for Lee – he is done with the puzzling reflections and onto perfect clarity. He is complete. I cry for his incredible wife Gayle, his amazing children who I have grown to love, and the rest of us who feel the world a little less full without him in it.
Lee’s story of life and love inspires me to trust God more fully. It convicts me to thank God and believe Him even with the bad stuff in life. Lee makes me want to follow Jesus more fully and live the words I speak about God’s faithfulness.
In his last months, I got the amazing opportunity to sit with Lee and hear his life story to write into a short book. I leaned in close as he spoke of triumph and failure and what the Lord taught him. Some great truths that stood out to me that I can hear him speaking even now are:
- “Don’t Worry – why do we worry when God says He will use all things – even the bad stuff – for – our good?”
- “Life is about learning wisdom – only some things can we learn from others, many things we need to endure personally to let God’s truths sink deep. How can we know what we are made of until we are tested?”
- “God’s Word is where the power is. Why wouldn’t we read it, believe it, and meet with other Christ followers to study it?”
- “Overwhelmingly, God’s message to me in those long hours of praying and listening to God from my hospital bed was this: ‘Be humble and appreciative.’ Those two adjectives were emblazoned upon my brain. I realized, ‘What’s so hard about saying you’re sorry? What’s so difficult about accepting that someone else is sorry?’”
These were just four areas that greatly resonated with me in our times together. There was much more. He went through lots of struggles including the death of loved ones, job changes, divorce, betrayal from a business partner, and brain cancer amidst all the regular stuff of life. Through it all, he had his human emotions to deal with, but he humbly shared his experiences and God’s faithfulness to him. He embraced God’s forgiveness and shared it freely and boldly with others.
If you are interested in reading more about Lee’s story, here is the link to order it on Amazon http://amzn.to/1qMOK8m. (It costs $6.65 which goes to cover the cost of production, but $2 of the cost will go to Lee’s family. If you live locally, I have ordered 150 copies and all proceeds from the $5 suggested donation will go to Lee’s family.)
As I ponder hope today… I know I can dare to have it even through my tears. Lee remained steadfast in hope until the moment he slipped into eternity. I pray that God’s hope overwhelms you today no matter what “all thing” you might be experiencing right now.
Romans 5:4-6 “And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.”
I have to end this post with one of my favorite pages from the book – Lee’s Words of Wisdom – I can see the smile on his face and the joy in his heart as he said these words from time to time….
“It is just as important to receive love as it is to give it. Find someone who will let you love and AND loves you back! Love should go both ways.”
“The opposite of love is NOT hate, but evil (anything that destroys love). God is love.”
“Focus on having humility and appreciation versus pride and entitlement.”
“The older they get, the cuter they ain’t.”
“Read your Bible everyday, it is nourishment for the soul.”
“Keep God #1.”
“Strive to make God smile. He loves you and has a great sense of humor.”
“The difference between a good job and a great job is five minutes.”
“Do the right things for the right reasons!”
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
“If what you say hurts someone, it is NOT funny.”
“God 1st, Family 2nd, Friends 3rd – keep your priorities in the right order.”
“Do what you like, like what you do! Enjoying your job = success.”
“Backpacking is like pushing the reset button.”
“Life is good!”
Life is certainly good for him right now as he went from life …. to life. Oh how I will miss you Lee.