Well, I just found out that another friend of mine passed away last week. It was a heart attack. But keep reading -- I promise this post won’t make you cry.
I had met Jiva through my husband. We saw each other on occasion. Not a lot. He knew I had cancer and he read my blog. Just recently, he had had a stroke. This certainly jarred his faith. He was from Bombay, but attended a local Catholic church. Soon after his stroke, he asked if he could come to our church with us. We met him at Calvary and took him to lunch after the service. After, he asked if he and I could continue to meet on a regular basis. Because, according to him, he found my faith “utterly fascinating.” So we met in Calabasas one day for lunch. As I shared my faith, he stared intently at me. He clearly was puzzled. "How do you have such strong faith given your diagnosis?" he asked. I had brought him a Jesus Calling book and handed it to him during our lunch. I told him it was one of my most favorite books ever. While we were talking, I wrote down a few verses inside the jacket cover. Can’t really recall what I wrote, but he acted like I was giving him the keys to eternity. In fact, I was.
I would receive many emails and texts from him after our first lunch. The first text read, “Reading Jesus Calling soothes my heart, but I must say I then get back to the same thing unfortunately. But gradually, very very gradually, I am submitting myself to Him. Not fast enough though.”
I loved that he kept reading it.
I received this text just six days before he died.
“Yesterday’s reading in Jesus Calling: Walk by faith, not by sight. The book you gave me is a magical carpet. It’s so much joy. Thank you, Ruthie.”
I wrote him back, “Love that u love it!! Read it always. xo.”
Looking back, I’m so comforted by his words. I’m also comforted that the Lord took him quickly as Jiva had a huge fear of having another stroke and not having anyone to take care of him. When I went back to re-read the page that Jiva was referring to in his last text I saw, “As I help you get back on your feet, you tell Me how worried you are about the cliffs up ahead. But you don’t know what will happen today, much less tomorrow...Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Me to open up the way before you.”
I know those words were written just for Jiva to read that day. As he so feared the cliffs up ahead. Don’t we all?
So as I write this, I encourage each one of you to carve out some time to share your faith with someone. Maybe even share your favorite book.
I ran out to Costco today and bought 20 more of my favorite books in honor of Jiva. He would have loved to know that because of him, more of these special books will be given to others. I hope this beautiful book brings them closer to God too.