This is Part 2, of a two part series, about Eric, age 46, admitted to hospice with terminal cancer. In Part 1, “God is a Heart God,” Eric claimed to be a Reba McIntyre fan, but also pointed out how, “Entertainers always present an image that they want to look like.”
When I suggested that we all do, Eric replied, “But God is a heart God…Men look on the outside but God looks at the heart, on the inside. The mind can be fooled but not the heart.”
Eric’s parents, in their 80s, are tough minded country people. Eric’s father, Lawrence, bragged about his wife, Rindi, “She can work like a man…When we built our house she climbed up the rafters like a man and helped put on the roof.”
Lawrence was a Marine, a machine gunner in the South Pacific, during World War II. He reflected, “You had to do what you had to do…When the war started I hated the Japanese, but by the time the war was over, I didn’t hate them anymore. They were just men like us.”
Lawrence worked most of his life in brick factories, carrying, wheel barrowing and stacking bricks. He concluded, “I wore out my knees,” which was evident as I watched him teeter across the front yard like a man on stilts.
One afternoon, after visiting Eric, I ran into Lawrence and Rindi outside as I was leaving. They were reorganizing their garage.
Rindi asked me, “Do you notice any changes in him (Eric)?”
I asked her the same question in return and she replied, “He’s eating but he’s still losing weight.”
Lawrence asked, “He’s in bad shape isn’t he?”
When I agreed with his evaluation, Lawrence covered his face with his hand and stumbled backwards. In retrospect, I don’t know if his knees gave out or if he was overcome with emotion, or perhaps both.
Rindi declared, “I’ll do anything I can for him (Eric).”
We talked about how none of us are perfect, either as parents or as caregivers. There will always be something more we could have said or done. I shared the Bible passage, “…love will cover a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8) We talked about how, when it’s all said and done, the important thing is that the person knew that we loved them.
Then Lawrence summed it up unforgettably, “Love’s the top dog, isn’t it?”
The same is true in our relationship with God. Peter’s life is a testimony. After eating the “Last Supper” with his disciples, Jesus predicted, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me tonight.”
But Peter declared, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble…Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” (Matthew 26:31- 35) But that same night, as Peter watched the Jews beat and mock Jesus in the court yard, he denied even knowing Jesus; not just once, but three times. And on the third time…“When the rooster crowed, then the Lord turned and looked at Peter…Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord…So Peter went out and wept bitterly.”(Mark 14: 54-60)
Can you imagine the guilt and shame that Peter felt! He’d denied the very One he swore that he would die for. But it wasn’t over. Jesus arose from the grave, and over a span of 40 days, “He also presented Himself alive” to his disciples; including Peter. (Acts 1:1-3). And what do you think Jesus said to Peter? He didn’t point out how Peter had “Stumbled”, how he had denied and deserted him. He didn’t even say, “I told you so!”
Jesus simply asked Peter three times (Once for each time Peter had denied Him), “Simon (Peter), son of Jonah, do you love Me?” You see, love does “cover a multitude of sins” and love truly is “the top dog”.
You can view this story and others at www.lorenhardin.com.