Tuesday, December 1, 2009

27-Nov-2009 (Fri) - We'll Miss You Uncle Jerry

This was a very hard day. My wife (Tammy's) uncle (Jerry) [see pic of my daughter Kimberly, my father-in-law Bob & Uncle Jerry left] committed suicide this evening. He lived very near us, and seemed outwardly to be a very happy-go-lucky individual, although, lately, we found out, he'd been very depressed and was on anti-depressant medication. Uncle Jerry had lived with chronic and nearly crippling pain for more than 40 years. He was a strong Christian and I had personally seen him witness Jesus to perfect strangers. He was also the one most people in the family asked to pray at dinners that we all had together.

I had talked to him about his pain a few times at various family gatherings. He gave me his testimony once and told me that while he was managing a grocery store when he was younger, and his kids were all babies, he became very stressed out at his job. He started felling pressure in his chest, shortness of breath and pain in his arms. The doctors told him the stress of his job was going to kill him and that he needed to slow down (i.e. remove the stress in his life). But he couldn't find it in himself to do so. He said he begged God to help him slow down. At this very point in his life he started having joint pain which turned out to be this chronic arthritic pain he would have for 40+ years. He attributed this arthritic pain to God answering his prayer! Why? Because, he said, it was this very thing that caused him to have to quit his stressful job and go on disability. He saw this as God removing the stress in his life that would've killed him sooner. Thus he looked at this crippling arthritic pain as a “gift” from God to “slow him down” so he could live long enough to see his grandkids grow up. He told me this with tears in his eyes. He was very sincere. I tried to humbly share with him that Father God doesn't make people sick, and that his pain was not from God. I told him I knew this because Jesus is the perfect representation of Father God and He never gave anyone pain in the gospels. But Uncle Jerry was very traditionally oriented, and, in a very nice way told me that I was not a preacher and I was wrong. He was very concerned he might offend me by disagreeing because he loved me, he said. So I assured him I was not offended and could never be offended at him because I loved him too. At that time I had told him if he would let me lay my hands on him and pray for him, he would be healed. He absolutely (but kindly) would not let me do that at all. His main objection was that he didn't believe in that kind of thing and (again) that I was not a preacher (i.e. qualified to do things like that).

Uncle Jerry had lived long enough to see all his kids (Teresa, Karen & Randy) all grow up, get married and have kids of their own. He lived right beside his son (Randy's) family. But not being able to stand the pain any more, Uncle Jerry shot himself this evening. His family (especially his wife, Aunt Shirley and their grandkids) are suffering greatly over their loss. All of us in the family just loved and hugged on them all we could this evening. There were several of the family's preachers there comforting and praying with the them as well. It is very sad.

Through all this I could not help thinking that if we believers (mainly me) would put aside our selfish lives, live for Jesus more, then one of us could've seen this coming and prevented this tragedy. It made me want to sell out to Him completely, even though I don't know what that really entails. I meditate on these things without condemnation. But Uncle Jerry's family was big, and they are all believers in Jesus; just without the manifestation of healing power working in their lives. Nevertheless, because of their incredible love for one another, they are all very strong when it comes to comforting one another in tragedy such as this. Thank You, Father, for their tremendous love!

Father, comfort Uncle Jerry's family by your precious Holy Spirit. We love him and his family and will miss him greatly, but we know he really is with You because of his faith in Jesus. And Father, help me to be more like your Son to Uncle Jerry's family that this kind of thing can be prevented from ever happening again. Amen.

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