We are all in a bit of shock here that things happened so quickly – it was just earlier this month when we learned that his cancer had spread and that he’d be stepping away to battle it, and he joined our office Thanksgiving party a week and a half ago on the 18th seeming like the same old Jim.
Perhaps it’s an answer to our prayers that he didn’t suffer on and on, as he was getting more and more uncomfortable with each day. Nonetheless, it has struck us all pretty hard here at EMI as we process no longer having Jim around.
I think what struck me most personally about Jim was how comfortable he was in most any situation. He was anyman to everyman, and was not at all challenged by someone thinking differently than him - in fact he seemed to enjoy the differences amongst people. His faith was strong, and as such he didn’t seem to have any of the typical hang-ups with this or that nuance regarding faith matters. He had a very personal and open relationship with God and expressed it in a way that was very natural and unrehearsed. In a few talks I had with him about God, he never claimed to have a full understanding of God and how He works in the world, but he trusted Him implicitly nonetheless based on how he had seen Him work in and through his own life. When he led our morning devotions in the bible, it was always done in the manner of "let's see what God has for us in His word this morning" as opposed to an instructional tone that might have placed him above those he was speaking to.
Of course I believe every one of us is a sinner that falls short of God’s standard. However, when I think of what Jesus might’ve been like here on earth I am reminded of so many of the qualities I saw in Jim. And in the same way that the disciplines must have felt abandoned and somewhat lost when Jesus left them abruptly at the height of His ministry, I think we at EMI all feel the loss of not having the time we thought we would have with Jim. Of course, EMI will go on. It is afterall God’s ministry that is not based on any one person. But even so, Jim will be a very difficult person to replace and his loss will be felt throughout our ministry for a long time.
We would appreciate your prayers here for the entire EMI family, and especially for Nancy. They both (Jim & Nancy) have been very solid in all of this, confident in the hope that lies ahead for Jim as he prepared to pass into the presence of God for eternity.