WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN THERE IS NO HOPE?
These past few days people have asked me questions that are extremely difficult. There doesn’t seem to be a helpful answer.
Five years ago Bill Brick and I became friends for eternity. Bill had invited three of his buddies to vacation with him in Cabo San Lucas.
This vacation would be Bill’s last and final vacation. Bill had stage 4 prostate cancer.
One of the friends asked me if I would come to Bill’s villa. Vividly I recall asking my son-in-law, Shann (who I call Doc), “What do I say to a dying man?”
Doc gave me a book by Henri J. M. Nouwen, Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring. This remarkable priest was wise in Godly wisdom. Chapter 3 was counsel on what to say to a dying man.
In essence, Father Henri’s advice was to listen, to love unconditionally, to care and to pray.
For nearly one week a good part of my vacation was at Bill’s side. We became brothers. For months Bill and I talked long distance. Bill read Meet My Head Coach. Before he was ready to close his eyes for the last time, Bill had discovered the grace and mercy of Jesus, his new Lord, and savior.
Ironically, as I listened, loved, cared and prayed for Bill, cancer was knocking at my door. It was months later when this reality hit home.
It became my destiny to walk through the cancer valley of the shadow of death. To survive I would need to master the life skills only God is qualified to teach.
The learning curve has been very steep. It continues to be a monstrous climb. As others have seen the light, love, and life of Christ in me, many doors have opened.
Today a highly depressed, sick man asked me, “Fred, how are you able to be so happy?”
This is how I answered this discouraged child of God:
“During the darkest days of my life, it was clear no one or no possession could erase my depression. Hope had vanished like a ghost. No matter how much my wife Susie and my entire family loved and served me, I could not find joy.
At these times of intense trials, the discovery of the love and grace of God came to me. My focus is to win the moment. if I win the moment, I can win the minute; then the hour and then the day.”
Psalm 20, 23, 63, 91, 103; Philippians 2 and 4; Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 41;1-3 are my home.
This is where I invite my friends to join me, so they may fight to win the moment as well.