Last night my brother in law, Jerry, had a stroke. Jerry is more than my brother in law. He is my friend. He has been a constant and faithful friend for more than thirty years. In spite of all of my changes, and all of the times that I have been aloof, arrogant, or even cruel, Jerry has remained a friend.
Jerry is a humble man. In direct contrast to the subject of the classic Carly Simon song, Jerry would probably shrink from believing that this post is about him. Very early in my acquaintance with Jerry, I was impressed with his willingness to confess his sins. He would readily acknowledge his failings, and seek the support of brethren — especially in their prayers — in his battle to be more like Jesus. That humility has never left him. It has matured and deepened, but it has not faded.
Jerry is a kind man. Even on those occasions when he is offering constructive criticism or rebuke, his words are thoughtfully chosen, and his tone is gentle and unassuming. But he is not usually correcting or rebuking. On the contrary, he is more often encouraging, uplifting, and refreshing. You can expect to feel better after spending time with Jerry.
That is not to say that he will make you feel comfortable with sin, or that he will compromise his principles. Rather, he will find the best in you, as naturally as a hummingbird finds nectar. He will draw out the goodness and help it to grow and blossom, even as he himself is nourished and edified by it.
Jerry is a disciplined man. Many times I have seen him get up and go to work after a debilitating bout with food poisoning, a stomach flu, or the like, when most people would rightfully take the day off. More generally, he denies himself things he would like, and that he has a right to enjoy, for the sake of his family or for his brothers and sisters in Christ. In his humility, he reproaches himself for lacking self-discipline, and does not seem to be aware how much of it he actually demonstrates.
Jerry is a good man. He earnestly strives to do what is right, and to rid his life of every sinful behavior and habit. He loves his wife, he loves his children, he loves his brothers and sisters in the faith, and above all, he loves the Lord.
He also loves the truth. He searches Scripture, meditates on it, and diligently applies it. He has a hunger and a thirst for God, for a deeper relationship with Him. He is immersed in the written Word of God, and has a fervent desire to understand it correctly.
Jerry’s stroke has left him unable to speak. His wife has expressed to her sister (who happens to be my wife) how frustrating this is to him. I can only imagine how it makes him feel. It saddens me that Jerry is going through this agony. It also saddens me that the world is deprived of the words of this humble, kind, self-controlled, and good man.
Please join me in prayer that Jerry’s speech will be restored, and that he will fully recover from this stroke. The world needs more like him, not less.