“Farewell My Friend, John!”

“Farewell My Friend, John!”

Oh John, I am so excited for you! You have been promoted to Heaven. In your last words spoken to your daughters this morning between the hours of 3 AM to 5 AM, you asked them, “Do you hear the organs playing?”  I believe you were referring to Heaven.

I remember so well how John marched into my office one Tuesday morning, demanding, “I want my wife, Sharon, back! She left me! What do I have to do?” To this point, I had a casual relationship with John. John’s wife, Sharon, attended our church regularly. John was 6’4” tall, and his wife was blessed if she was 5’4”. John had hundreds of employees who worked for him in his position as Head Forester in Northeast Washington. John was also an accomplished beer drinker who could hide his addiction well.  He was known for his acid tongue that kept his employees, wife, and others scared of him. On that day he marched into my office, Sharon left John because of verbal abuse, and she left a “Dear John” note that said she was through with him … period!

The Holy Spirit spoke through me prophetically. I blurted out, “John, If you will follow these steps, I promise you that you will have Sharon back in one year! 1. You will never lie to me. 2. You have had your last drink. 3. You will never miss another service at Colville Assembly of God. You will be there Sunday AM, Sunday PM, Wednesday PM, and whatever other services we have! 4. You will come to my office every week without fail, and sit through one hour of counseling, prayer, and Bible study. 5. You will accept Christ as your personal Savior today! No exceptions, no excuses! 6. You will do what I ask of you along the way.” John looked me straight in the eye and replied, “I can and I will do that!”

Without fail, John was at every service. He was totally honest with me. That was a most frustrating year for me as pastor. John tested and tried me. By far and large, he was one of the most amazing men I have ever met. When I challenged him about being a dry alcoholic, meaning that with his own will power he had stopped drinking, John accepted the challenge, as was gloriously saved.

Six months into this year long challenge, Sharon walked into my office and declared, “Quit messing with my life! I don’t want John back!” Things got worse. However, a miraculous turnaround took place. By the 11th month, we planned their remarriage! One year to the date I first saw John in my office, we had their ceremony before an overflow crowd at Colville Assembly of God, complete with a honeymoon to follow!

Some years later, Sharon died. John kept serving Jesus faithfully. His last year was spent in a nursing home. John’s declaration was, “I shall see Sharon someday in Heaven!”

Never, ever think it is hopeless for someone who is without Christ!

Farewell, John.  I shall see you and Sharon in Heaven someday!

Pastor Stan