I was returning from one of the Huntington hospitals one day this week. The rain was pouring. The lightening was dynamic. And, the long line of traffic I got involved with moved very slowly.
But, while I was attentive to the weather hazards and driving difficulties, my mind happened to wander and consider respectfully two men that I know. I thought about them for several miles. It is on my mind to tell you what I think about them.
First, there is Jeff Jodon, who lives in Mason, W.Va. Jeff was a long time builder and contractor in the area. Furthermore, he is a member of the church I pastor, Faith Baptist Church. So, I have known Jeff since June of 1998 at which time I took on the pastoral duties of the church.
Jeff soon showed himself to be a loyal friend. He has been a helper to me in a variety of ways. Once, when one of my boys rolled a pickup truck I had bought three weeks previously, I thought it was a total loss. It certainly looked like it. But, Jeff said it could be restored, and he did the work through no small effort to get it back on the road without any labor charge whatsoever. We still drive the truck ten years later.
Furthermore, he has been a faithful attender of church services. He has been a particular encourager to me, too.
Unfortunately, about two years ago, Jeff experienced a severe stroke. It was a matter of God’s grace that he did not die from it. But, the truth of the matter is that, though he is living with the debilitating side effects of the stroke, he has not given up living life as efficiently as he can.
One of our local doctors has described Jeff as “the most stubborn yet determined man there is.” Recently, Jeff fell and broke two toes and two bones in his leg on his weak side. Surgery is required and is scheduled for next Tuesday. But, he says that he hopes for a speedy recovery in quick enough time so he can mow his grass before it gets too tall for his riding mower. The man has an inspiring attitude.
And, he keeps expressing a determined faith that the Lord is going to wind up healing him of his present infirmities with a restoration to health. You cannot beat that with a stick! We often open our services to hear testimonies from those in attendance. Jeff is usually the first to stand and brag on the Lord for His blessings and watch care. He never expresses any bitterness toward the Lord, but rather expresses thankfulness that the Lord preserved his life.
Lord willing, says Jeff, he will someday once again be able to drive a nail with a hammer. We are praying alongside Jeff, too, asking the Lord to put that hammer in Jeff’s hand to drive that nail.
But, then there is Jesus. This is what I think about Him. He is the Man who gives us hope. He is the Man who encourages us with the special and uplifting sense of His presence. He is the Man who never leaves us or forsakes us.
Jesus is very special to those who know Him. Because of who He is, because of what He did on Calvary, and because of what He is now doing for us at God’s right hand, those who know Him are always in a win / win situation. After all, according to Scripture, God always causes us to triumph in Jesus. You cannot beat that with a stick, either.
You see, we live in a world that keeps trying to put the hurt to us. Many of us wind up getting the hurt applied in one way or another. It does not take much to get hurt. Neither, does it take much to get dead.
But, the Lord gives us people like Jeff—-and so many others that you know in your churches and communities—-to serve as a source of inspiration and to point to the help and strength and inspiration that comes from that magnificent divine Man, Jesus Christ. There is absolutely no stick big enough to beat that either, is there?
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.