Joe is an interesting kind of fella. He’s in his early 70’s and is a retired federal government employee. Very smart, but kind of quirky too. Sadly, Joe’s wife passed away last July and since then, we’ve taken him under our wings of care. Before her passing, we’d only spoken briefly in our coming and going. A few days after she passed, he came over to give us a copy of his house keys should anything happen and he began to cry. There’s nothing quite like watching an almost 7′ man overcome with grief, weep so openly. We almost cried with him. It was the beginning of a friendship that grief forged.
They had no children in their nearly fifty years of marriage and only a handful of extended family members. It’s the saddest thing in the world, I think. His house is his possession of pride and joy. They led a very secluded life, not allowing anyone into their bubble. Now that she’s gone, I can only imagine how lost he must feel. She was very domineering. I’m not sure he had a thought to call his own.
We’ve been praying that he will accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. If you asked him what religion he is, he’d answer Jewish; but he does not practice that faith necessarily. It’s just the faith he was raised with. We have all shared Jesus and the plan of salvation with him.
… This leads me up to the other day –
My 16 year old daughter was on the way back home from visiting another neighbor across the street when Joe happened to be outside checking his mail. He walked over to our driveway where she was and they exchanged greetings. Then he asked her what book she was holding in her arms. Well, our other neighbor (such a nice Christian family!) let her borrow a thick Bible Commentary. (We have about 3 or 4 so I’m not sure why, but it was a nice gesture.) Joe was curious about this big book and he’s lonely, so he struck up a conversation about it.
I happened to be looking out the living room window and saw the two of them talking for quite a while. My first thought was, ‘Oh, I hope she doesn’t lay it on too strong witnessing.’ (Because I knew my little evangelist would be sharing Jesus! We all have such a burden for him.)
My second thought was almost correcting my first thought, ‘Jesus loves him so!’. Jesus loves Joe so much that He’s extending yet another opportunity to come to know Him in a personal way and spend eternity (whenever that should begin for him) with Him! Oh, he loves Joe so.
Let me first say how proud I am of my little evangelist. She really was led by the Holy Spirit because she said how she knew Joe was most familiar with the Old Testament since he is Jewish and that’s what she primarily shared with him. I thought that was a very smart strategy. We both prayed that the seed she sowed will take root and bring forth a spiritual harvest. She just finished up a course on “Bible Doctrines” that was especially helpful in what she shared with him. Yay, homeschooling! 🙂
Last night, Joe called to check in. We’ve established a weekly “check in” phone call if we don’t speak in person. It’s to let us know he’s okay and he appreciates our concern. Joe was telling my husband how intelligent our daughter is and how much he appreciated speaking with her. He viewed it as an intellectual discussion, I’m sure, but my prayer is that God will reveal His love to Joe in a real way. And that Joe will call on Jesus as His Savior.
From every indication, Joe has not experienced much love in his life, outside of his marriage. He has been touched beyond words by any measure of care or concern that many might overlook. It is the saddest thing to me to live a life devoid of love. Perhaps I’ve been more blessed than I ever knew. For, despite the many trials and tribulations I’ve endured, I’ve also lived a life full of love over my 40+ years.
Would you join me in praying for Joe today? And all the Joe’s of the world? Jesus loves them so.