“I was going to end it all”

By , April 8, 2011

“the Lord has led me on the journey to the house” Genesis 24:27 (NIV)

I am blessed with many friends and very few enemies. I am so thankful for the great number of wonderful people who have come into my life and enriched it with their gifts and friendship. They have been such a source of inspiration to me and created such vivid memories.

One such person I will call Phil. He was considerably older than me and was in the ham radio fraternity when I joined it many years ago. That was where I met him. He reminded me of my father. He grew up on a farm, became an engineer but the farm never left him. Affable and friendly to a fault he could talk your ear off. We often got together for coffee and a “rag chew”.

I recall one day hearing Phil on a frequency when I was out in my car and so I decided to chat with him. He did not sound like himself and I asked him what was wrong. He told me that he had been to the doctor a few times recently for a medical problem and the results he had received that day from some tests were not looking good. When I got home I immediately called him on the phone to get a private conversation going and learn more detail. Phil explained that the specialist had told him there was little he could do. An operation would only prolong his life a few months.

I had Phil describe his symptoms, the tests and the results and then asked him if I could come by and see him that same night. Phil agreed to my request for a visit. When I got off the phone with him I immediately called a medical specialist friend of mine and described Phil’s symptoms and the tests and the test results he had to my friend. I asked my friend what he thought about Phil’s possibilities. He said that he wanted to see Phil immediately as he thought he might be able to help him. My friend told me to have Phil call his office and request an immediate consultation.

Armed with this information I made my way over to my friend’s ham shack that night. I went immediately around to the back yard and across the lawn into the familiar place where he was waiting. I had never seen him without a smile on his face but tonight he looked devastated. He started the conversation and told me that he had no hope and was not prepared for what faced him. He did not know what to do.

I told him that I had called a friend who was a specialist in the same field as his doctor and described his situation and my friend thought something could be done. My friend was willing to put him at the top of the list and see him immediately if he would just call the next day and ask for an appointment. Phil hesitated. I could not understand. Why did he do this? I assured him my friend was internationally renowned and taught and published in his field for years. Back and forth it went. Phil agreed and then he recanted. For a couple of hours we went back and forth. I realized that ultimately it was his business and I should let him decide but I felt like I was fighting for his life. Little did I know that I was.

Finally he agreed that next morning he would call and book an appointment and hear my friend out. I knew he meant it and would do it. I left for home greatly relieved that Phil had agreed to my proposal and that he would entrust himself to my friend’s capable hands.

After that everything happened quickly. Phil was examined and was assured he was an excellent candidate for successful surgery. A date was set for a couple of weeks hence and the time flew by quickly. Phil was happy to go ahead with the procedure and I quietly rejoiced that my ham buddy was going to have the operation that would prolong his life.

I recall my first visit to him following his surgery. It was a bright summer’s day and everything had gone so well in the operating room. The surgeon had given him a glowing report on the procedure and everything was just great. We sat down and had a good talk together. As we spoke he started to choke up and he could hardly speak for a moment. Finally he got it together and said, “Gordon, do you remember the night when you came over to my ham shack and tried to persuade me to contact your surgeon friend?” I told him that I had vivid memories of that night. “Well,” he said,” When you came, I decided that I was going to hear you out and then I was going to get my gun and I was going to end it all.” He told me that he was afraid of the long months of suffering that the cancer would afford him and how it would hurt his beloved wife. He could not put her through that torture. He felt he owed it to her and his family to end it quickly.

It amazed me to hear that as I had no idea that when I was with him that night I was literally fighting for his life that very hour. I trembled to think that he had been hiding a loaded rifle in the shack and was preparing to use it within minutes of my departure. The Lord kept me from knowing that reality but also the Lord urged me to go that night to see Phil because if I had deferred it to another night Phil would have been dead.

Now when the Lord prompts me to do something good I never hesitate to do it immediately, especially when it involves the welfare of others. God’s timing is perfect even when we do not understand it.

You may know of someone who needs your tender intervention. Do not hesitate in doing good for a person in pain. You never know how the Lord will use your act of kindness. It says of Jesus in Acts 10:48 “he went around doing good” (NIV) Look for your opportunity to imitate Jesus today.

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