Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Sadly for us, the world lost one phenomenal man last Saturday. I've been thinking every day since I found out about his death that I would sit down and write a few words about his death; yetet the words eluded me. Mostly, they elude me still, but my heart knows what my mouth cannot say.
When I think of Joe, I recall the last conversation I had with him. We were in the hallway of our church, and I stopped to ask how he was doing.
Although he was quite ill at that time, he was not only there for worship that Sunday morning, but he was also, as was typical of Joe, volunteering in the Sunday School hour, walking, with the aid of his cane, from classroom to classroom passing out, and then collecting attendance sheets.
When I asked after his health, he looked at me and smiled and said - Oh, great, just great! Anyone could see that physically, he wasn't great, just great, but that was Joe. His big smile cutting across the ubiquitous beard covering the bottom half of his face, never one to complain, only to encourage others with his optimism. What a gift he had in that regard.
I could go on and on about all the ways in which Joe touched my life, my children's lives when they were led by him in Youth Group, and the lives of countless people who walked into his orbit, but I won't because something tells me he would balk at the praise. I believe he would shrug it off and change the subject. That's the kind of man he was.
As I think through all the years I knew him, I cannot picture a moment when he didn't give God the glory for whatever circumstances happened along. I believe no matter what, his heart chose to say, as the song [posted] says - Blessed be the name of the Lord... You give and take away, you give and take away... my heart will choose to say blessed be Your name.
I look forward to the day when once we'll meet again. I have no doubt he'll be singing God's praises in heaven just as he did here on earth. What a precious gem he was. I thank God for the privilege of knowing him.
~Philippians 1:3New International Version (NIV)
I thank my God every time I remember you.