Spiritual Hero - By James Dobson
I heard about this man from a docudrama on television that I saw many years ago. The producer had obtained permission from a cancer specialist to place cameras in his clinic. Then with the approval from three patients, two men and a women, he captured on film the moment each of them learned they were afflicted with a malignancy in its later stages. Their initial shock, disbelief, fear and anger were recorded in graphic detail. Afterwards the documentary team followed these three families through the treatment process with its ups and downs, hopes and disappointment, pain and terror.
He was a humble black pastor of a small inner city Baptist church. He was in his late sixties and had been a minister throughout his adult life. His love for the Lord was so profound that it was reflected in everything he said. When he and his wife were told he only had a few months to live, they revealed no panic. They quietly asked the doctor what it all meant. When he had explained the treatment program and what they could anticipate, they politely thanked him for his concern and departed. The cameras followed this little couple to their old car and eavesdropped as they bowed their heads and recommitted themselves to the Lord.
In the months that followed, the pastor never lost his poise. Nor was he glib about his illness. He knew the Lord was in control, and he refused to be shaken in his faith.
The cameras were present on his final Sunday in his church. He actually preached the sermon that morning and talked openly about his impending death. To the best of my recollection, this is what he said:
"Some of you have asked me if I'm mad at God for this disease that has taken over my body. I'll tell you honestly that I have nothing but love in my heart for my Lord. He didn't do this to me. We live in a sinful world where sickness and death are the curse man has brought on himself. And I'm going to a better place where there will be no more tears, no suffering, no heartache. So don't feel bad for me."
"Besides," he continued, "our Lord suffered and died for our sins. Why should I not share in his suffering?" Then he began to sing, without accompaniment, in an old broken voice.
I wept as this gentle man sang of his love for Jesus. He sounded very weak, and his face was drawn from the ravages of the disease. But his comments were as powerful as any I've ever heard. His words that morning were his last from the pulpit, as far as I know. He slipped into eternity a few days later, where he met the Lord he had served for a lifetime. This unnamed pastor and his wife have a prominent place among my spiritual heroes.
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