Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Prayer

I was reminded of a song today in church, the song was "The Prayer". Perhaps, best remembered sung by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. The first time I heard the song, I thought, "I need that song, I've got to get it". Several years later now, I finally have the song, downloaded to my iPod and played endlessly. I don't have to worry about scratching the vinyl or wearing out the cassette tape. It is now held, almost eternally, on my iPod.

It is a one year anniversary, if we can look at someones passing in that light, of my brother Jim's transition, home to be with the Lord, the maker/creator and savior. It was an event, of sorts, his death, the viewing, the funeral and his burial. I saw him take his last few breaths that fateful night and that memory plays back in my mind, trying to capture something, a memory or an answer to the inevitable. Saying anything to the contrary, that he went out like a champion would be heresy. He was a fighter to the end. His last breaths, to me, sounded and looked like he was running. Of course, I couldn't' help think of the imagery of the Christian life being a race. There he was, helpless, nothing I could do, an encouraging word seemed out of place, all I did was pray.

I prayed that God would ease his suffering. I prayed that God would comfort ours. I, selfishly prayed that the Lord would give me more days with him. I quietly asked the Lord to give him five weeks, no, five years. I didn't want memories, I wanted the real thing, the real voice, the laughter and the encouragement. Jim was my wing man, my cut man in the ring, always there for me. He never forced anything on me, he only shared. He shared a person and that person was Jesus. Sounds corny at times, a persons name that is taken more in vain than one mentioned in love and compassion. Are you sure Jesus is real, I've been asked. Hard to believe isn't it, Jesus, hey Bill, some said to me, why don't you join that group that goes around chanting, wearing robes and sandals? Despite the remarks and insults, I was drawn to God. Jim was being drawn around the same time. "Consider Jesus", writes the author to Hebrews. Jim considered Him and it turned his life upside down for the better and finally that night, I believe, Jim met Jesus face to face. The greatest part, Jim did not meet a stranger, it was someone he knew. The last conversation Jim had with the Lord, continued when he saw him, but this time, faith was gone, hope wasn't needed any longer, all that remained was love. I don't believe that to make me feel better, that Jim's in a better place now his suffering is past, but I believe it because my searching has led me there. I'm a rebel by nature, I didn't want to submit my will to God. However, the evidence is over whelming. I follow Him. Disbelieving would deny the heart. Two thousand years later the same truth Jesus spoke about is still spoken about today.

If you can listen to the words of this song, My Prayer, and perhaps put it to life, that would be grand. I only hope I can. Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy. The theology professor asked "what's wrong with the world?" He answered, "I am!" I don't say that in self loathing, but I wonder, how I can pray to God with all earnest about my neighbor pray for their sickness, or family, whatever it may be, get in the car, out in traffic and curse the other driver for doing whatever (didn't I just pray for him?). That is a simple illustration, We talked about that and many other life observations, Jim and me, he knew it also. We would discuss it and conclude that indeed, we are sinners, but we are sinning less that we use to. I don't know if that is theologically correct or not, but Paul faced the same battle. Jim, as I do, wanted to be more like Jesus.

I miss those talks we had years ago, we would order a pie, the girls would be off to bed, kinda... (I always wondered if they were listening to our conversations). We would share a bible passage, trying to gain understanding, how to apply it to our lives. Then there was the lunches at Moody, he would introduce me to everyone and eventially I went to the school. Sometimes, we skipped lunch and played basketball. You learn alot about yourself playing basketball, like the praying for your neighbor and driving illustration learning about yourself.

I have listed to the song know for a dozen times, typing as I'm listening, wishing at times, I could sing like Signor Bocelli. It isn't that I want the praise or applause for it, but I want my voice to sound good to the Lord, dang just once. I know the Lord doesn't take that into account, but I want to sound good for Him. I'm sure he wouldn't want me to play Him a song on the piano if I couldn't play. Who knows? The Lord, I believe, wants me to live a life pleasing to Him. The sermon today was about, loving the Lord your God with all you heart, mind and soul and loving others as yourself. Jim did that. I want to do that, God grant me the strength to do it, to persevere and not lose hope. Keeping my thoughts and eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.

I miss you Jim. I know that I will see you again one day.

1 comment:

AK said...

Awesome tribute, Bill. Sorry it took so long to comment on it . . . I saw the first few lines shortly after you posted it, and I thought, Nah, I can't read that right now. Not gonna make it through.

I finally did, and I'm really touched.

Looking back on those last days, and the days after he passed is just plain hard. But you described the honor of Jim's life very well, and it's so significant. It confirmed so much for me, that it really was worth it to know Jesus. Life really does have a point. There are times when circumstances make you wonder, but Jim's life and death present a really strong Exhibit A in defense of the gospel.

Thanks for posting that, and know I'm praying for you.