In 1972, when we were dating, Tim had a startling encounter with Jesus. It happened when he ran into a man he had wronged. Expecting a punch, the man instead reached for Tim’s hand and said, “I forgive you, I love you, and I want to tell you about something.”
For the next several months, Paul and his wife Ann shared with us their stories of faith. And Tim quickly accepted Christ, and then encouraged me to do the same.
Now I’d like to say, Tim changed and radically pursued God. That he led those around him in bible studies and church attendance. But he didn’t. For the next 35 or so years, save a big crisis, Tim’s faith stayed in the shadows.
On top of that, he famously bent the rules. All without a shred of shame.
Many times, as I struggled with my own faith, I questioned his. “Do you ever think faith is a big hoax?” I’d ask. “Do you ever doubt there is a God?”
His answer was always an emphatic, “No!” God was real, and that was all there was to it. But that faith didn’t motivate Tim to change the way he lived.
But when Tim got cancer, his faith kicked in. Although a drive across town, sent pain ripping through his body, he refused to miss a Sunday church service. Nausea that would keep the average person in bed, couldn’t keep him away from our small group meetings.
His greatest source of peace came from the bible. When the pain became unbearable, he’d beg me to read it to him. When I could no longer stay up, he’d put on earphones and listen to an audio version all night long.
A peace came over him in spite of his diagnosis. It drew people to him and it inspired everyone around him, including me.
So this past Sunday when our pastor preached on the life of Solomon, it reminded me of Tim.
Because, really, King David never deserved that son. After all, he’d turned His back on God. And in that turning, he committed adultery and murder. And I get it that the consequence was the loss of one son. But then God gave the adulterer and the adulteress another. And the bible says right there in 2 Samuel, that they named him Solomon, and the Lord loved him.
In Tim, I saw first hand that kind of grace. A grace that never keeps score. That never says, “Sorry, you haven’t given enough.” That gives the full portion for no reason other than we’ve acknowledged the giver.
I think all our life, God waits for us to acknowledge Him. And His patience is epic. And His love for us is beyond measure.
It was beautiful to see God pursue Tim. And it was beautiful to see Tim acknowledge God.
If you don’t know Him, will you turn around? I promise, if you seek Him, He will be found. And He will change your life for eternity. Don’t wait. Do it today.