Friday, April 11, 2014

Call upon him while he is near

Victor’s voice over the phone was more subdued than usual. “Our friend, Marvin, won’t be reporting to work today. He passed away last night; he had a heart attack,” said our watchman with a somber tone.  Apparently his wife found him unresponsive in their small home and called his boss right away. Marvin was only fifty-three years old.  I asked Victor if Marvin was a follower of Christ and he went on to tell me Marvin’s struggle with alcohol.  “I don’t believe he was but I do know he was an alcoholic,” replied Victor.

The Nicaraguan national was a likeable guard who always greeted you every morning and bid you a warm, Vaya con Dios, at anytime of the day.  He stood at the corner of our block and did his job faithfully for twelve hours, six days a week.

Unfortunately, he was one watchman I did not give an audio Bible to.  Last month, I wrote about having the privilege of passing audio Bibles to various neighborhood watchmen. For some reason, he was one guard I missed. After hearing the devastating news, I felt terrible. Why had I missed giving him an audio Bible?

Like most days that followed, I went for an early morning stroll around the neighborhood and bumped into a young watchman I had never seen before. He introduced himself as Elmer and said he was filling in for a guard on vacation.  With the sudden death of Marvin on my mind, I asked Elmer if he had heard of the watchman who had passed away recently. His remark surprised me. “Yes, all the guards are talking about it. The news of his death frightened me,” confessed the guard.  He continued sharing about his fears and the brevity of life, which weighed heavy on his heart.  “Elmer, have you considered going to church and talking to a pastor about your fears?”  I asked, hesitating a negative response or better yet, rejection.  He shared his own faith walk and even admitted to veering off from the faith that once was his “first love.” Before we ended our conversation that early morning hour, I asked him if he was interested in talking to a dear pastor I knew in the area. Elmer expressed his desire to do so and I am happy to share that both the pastor and Elmer have talked. Although I don’t know if Elmer’s fears have dissipated, I am grateful God used Marvin’s death to stir me to reach out to Elmer.  Furthermore, God also used Marvin’s death to remind Elmer of his current spiritual condition and the peace that can be his as he seeks restoration with our Heavenly Father.

-Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon him while he is near.
       Isaiah 55:6

Marvin and Tony - 2013