His name was Jim. Here is the story of Jim and us.
We met Jim about 15 years ago when we relocated to a small community. About two weeks after we moved in Jim walked across the street to introduce himself. The first thing he said was “I hate Republicans and Christians.” He told us that all Christians are hypocrites and we told him we sin but we are sinners saved by grace. We decided to pray for this neighbor of ours.
Over the years Jim or we would stop and chat, just being neighborly. Eventually we grew to understand that Jim would give anybody the shirt off his back. He had such a big heart!
We also saw how Jim loved flowers and kept his yard very well landscaped and he enjoyed seeing my flowers also. Jim was usually home and feeling helpful; while I had a job. It got to the point that I would come home from work and find that Jim had cut our grass, trimmed our flowers and edged our sidewalk. In the winter I would get home and find he had plowed our driveway and sidewalks. We laughed for several years because one afternoon while he was plowing my sidewalk, I snuck around him and plowed his driveway and sidewalk. Told him we were brothers. Prayed for him.
He got to the point in his late 70’s that he would love to stop over and come in to talk. We would try to talk about Eternity and his relationship with God.
We frequently invited him to come to Church with us. Jim swore he would never step foot into a Church. Jim always said he knew when you were dead, you were dead and then there was nothing. He planned to be cremated immediately after dying so that he would be dead and gone.
But when he stopped over, he sometimes asked questions about Christianity and after a few minutes of our probing he would say “I have to go home now.” We told Jim we were praying for him.
We periodically dropped Jim’s name on the prayer cards at Church and asked for people to just pray for a guy named Jim so that he would get to know Jesus. We asked a lot of friends and family to pray for Jim.
He began to stop over more frequently and ask more questions such as, “How do we know God is real? How about the Hindus; how about the Muslims? Who is right?”
Several years ago at Thanksgiving time, he asked if he could bring over a DVD so we could watch while we had a quick supper. It was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. At the end of the DVD Jim started crying. We again tried to witness to him but he shut down and said he had to go home. A few years later Jim called and wanted to show us a different DVD. We were concerned what he would bring. It was the movie God Is NOT Dead. At the end Jim got emotional and we tried to talk very seriously with Jim. Again he said he had to go home. We kept on talking and telling Jim we were praying for him.
Two years ago we moved into our condo. Jim wanted to see our new place and we had him over for dinner. I prayed before supper and Jim responded with, “Those are nice words.”
We talked for a while and tried to witness yet again. We questioned whether we should give up and turn to other things BUT we felt like God would not let us ever give up on Jim. The last time Jim came over for supper it seemed like he was trying to unload some stuff in his life —as if he were looking for absolution. As he was leaving he told us that the doctor had discovered four spots on his liver that might be terminal. I asked him if I could pray with him. He said, “Please.” So we prayed for his health and that he would get to know Jesus before it was too late. Jim said he did not believe in God or Jesus. I said I’m still going to pray every day for you. He said, “You do that.”
I stopped over to his house and brought some food from Streams of Hope. We saw that Jim now had Hospice Home Care and was getting weaker. We prayed together and Jim appreciated talking to God. A few days later, Jim left a message on my cell phone which lead me to wonder what it was all about. The message said, “You two are true disciples of Jesus.”
The second to the last time I brought him some food he told me, “I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I am at peace and I am comfortable.”
Two weeks ago I stopped by and Jim was very agitated and insisted that his care taker take him to Horrocks. He told me I needed to leave right now because he was getting out of his hospital bed and going shopping for flowers. It was unsettling to see him like this to say the least.
The next week end I called and found out that Jim passed away on Wednesday, just before midnight. Jim was in his late 80’s when he died.So in conclusion. NEVER GIVE UP PRAYING for someone who needs Jesus in their life.
Jim our old friend – you made it to Heaven before us. Please look for us.
– Your old friends D. and B.