Worried about you

I spend time with an eighty-something man who is bedridden and not very communicative, at least not until yesterday. Until yesterday, I haven’t even been sure how well his mind is working. I hadn’t had a conversation with him that lasted more than one sentence with a yes or no answer. Ask him an open-ended question and most of the time he will not respond. His eyes are closed about 80% of the time giving the impression that he is trapped inside his shell. That’s why I was pretty shocked yesterday when he suggested I sit down next to the bed, clearly indicating he had something in mind. That initiated a 15-minute conversation that began with him saying he was worried about me.

He was worried about me? Wait a minute. Who’s the one who can’t get out of bed here? I would have been taken aback by anyone telling me they were worried about me much less someone in his condition. I can count on one finger the number of people who are worried about me: my wife.

Then he told me why. “I’m worried about what you are going to do when I am gone.”

This is a man who has made millions, who can now barely move, who talks in a whisper, who doesn’t have many friends, or the friends he had have faded into the background, finding it too painful to see him like this. I’ve wondered what he does day in and day out lying there with nothing to do but think. What does he think about, or has he shut down his brain entirely? Now I know he hasn’t. He’s thinking; and one of the things he’s thinking about is what’s going to happen to me when he dies. Unbelievable. Who cares about me? Most people think about what’s going to happen to them when they die, not someone else. And here I thought I was caring for him.

As to his faith, he has none, at least none in God. He has lived most of his life as if Jesus hadn’t been born. Maybe that’s why he isn’t thinking about what’s going to happen to him when he dies because he doesn’t know. So instead, he’s thinking about what’s going to happen to me after he goes. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a friend that cared about that. I’m just a little overwhelmed.

Lord, please have mercy on this man who is worried more about what will happen to me when he is gone, than he is about what will happen to him. I so much want him to know that you are making a place for him with you in heaven. You are, aren’t you? Please tell me you are.

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13 Responses to Worried about you

  1. This is astounding! I am wondering so much about this story.
    That you John have been with him daily, and he is thinking of you! Wow, this is just what you asked the LORD about in Church at the CATCH!
    What an epiphany!

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    Please know Pastor John I look so much forward to chatting with him in Heaven! May I please suggest to consider telling him that and it could lead to discussing God’s salvation plan with him…

  3. Priscilla says:

    John, I’ve been praying for Arnold since you first told us about him. I believe God is talking with him in ways the rest of us cannot understand, and will comtinue to till he takes his last breath. I believe that because my God is a loving God and wants every person, including Arnold, to live with Him in eternity.

  4. Peter Leenheer says:

    John, I believe it is only natural that he is concerned about you because you are about him. He is returning the favor. Perhaps this will lead to discussions about what you are going to do when he is gone. He appears to be showing interest in your life after you showed so much in his. Keep us posted. It is a great story.

  5. John A Fagliano says:

    I can see God working with you and Arnold at the same time. It is certainly by design that you are in each others lives right now. You are learning things from Him and though you may not see it, I believe you are having a huge effect on Him. If he dies without ever verbally renouncing atheism or professing faith in Christ, don’t worry. God finishes what he starts and by bringing you into His life God has definitely started something. Even if, in Arnold’s case it’s a late start.

  6. Gary says:

    John,
    I pray you are being blessed as witness to an Ezekiel 36:26 experience.
    Rejoice,
    Gary

  7. Sandie says:

    I’ve been pondering this since yesterday John, and I could hear The Spirit say (as it has so many times to me), “Go back to the beginning.” Before there were CCM commentaries, before there was The Catch and John the author…there was John the musician;, a voice and a guitar. There was a heart broken by God for a song, for himself, for a lost generation…a heart broken for even Jesus Himself. Because you allowed God to break your heart, I could allow Him to break mine. I could feel the hope of everything God meant me to be when He called me. You gave me courage to have joy. So sing and play for Arnold John; expose your broken heart. What music spoke to you back then; what music sings to you now; let Jesus move through it. There’s one thing that is intrinsic to music – especially when God is driving it – the melody and words, and the Spirit of them – will replay over and over in your mind and heart. Arnold has a lot of time to think, and I doubt he wants to hear scripture spoken to him. So sing to him John, sing to him and he will listen…because he loves you and he knows you love him. As to him worrying about you after he’s gone – it could be because he’s already got a toe out – testing the Living Water. And he doesn’t want you to lose your faith because of his doubt. Sing to him of love and hate, of being lost and being found, of disappointment and affirmation…sing your life and he will listen. Bless you John, and remember the stories of Jericho and God’s army in battle. Who always preceded the warriors? The musicians of course! In the story of Jericho, that’s all it took!

  8. jwfisch says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Sandie says:

      We have the power of the Holy Spirit to tear down Satan’s strongholds and stand atop the rubble singing a song of joy and glory! It is a great and terrible responsibility to move in that power, but if we are called we have no choice. “who shall I send; who will go for us?” I will go Lord; Send me Lord…” (Richie Furay) based on Isaiah.
      BTW, it was your CD “Wide Angle”, that opened up a new spiritual world for me.
      Be of Good Cheer…this is the season the Holy Spirit is able to touch even the hardest hearts.

  9. Lisa in Sunland says:

    Sure makes one wonder what the rest of that conversation was like! Feel free to keep on sharing on this. Thanks for sharing your lives with us! Blessings on ya.

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