Monday, March 14, 2011

Life Comes at You Fast, Sometimes Furious

Friday afternoon I sat in a sun spot falling through the Florida room windows, talking to my agent, going over my next book ideas, my thoughts coming together after a brain dead week.

I'd been on deadline, traveled to St. Louis for a board meeting, spent 7 days with 18 writers and Susan May Warren, then flew to my sisters for a surprise 40th birthday party.

I arrived home on a Sunday night at 10:30 only to be up and at the court house for jury duty Monday morning. I was selected for a jury pool. A criminal case. I mean, man, isn't that every writer's dream!

But not me. I just wanted to go home and sleep. I thought I was going to nod off as the lawyers pep talked us. I wasn't selected and by six o'clock I was home and in my jammies.

By Friday afternoon, I'd recovered. I'd slept in, gone to lunch with friends, and began thinking of a new story idea.

And there I sat, chatting with my agent, ending the conversation, when a text message binged up on my iPhone screen.

"Jim Maher was just killed in a motorcycle accident."

What? I squinted at the screen. Surely I was reading wrong. I didn't have my reading glasses and... What? Impossible.

Finding my glasses, I read it again.

"Jim Maher was just killed in a motorcycle accident."

My heart broke. Hanging up with my agent, I called my pastor, my husband and the friend who texted me the news.

I called Jim's son, Reuben.

It was true. My former pastor, friend, worship leader and worship mentor was dead at 63.

As the news spread and people began to call, email and Facebook, I found an emotional plane on which to land. While gone from this life, Jim stood before Jesus. He'd finished the race, and he'd finished well.

Oh, that we all might here, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest."

Jim is in a place where there is no more pain or sorrow. No more struggle with sin and sickness. He is with the king of glory.

Jim had an amazing heart to love and serve. The man could take off in worship with the strum of the first chord.

When he moved from our city to Kansas City in 2000 to join the International House of Prayer staff, I was given an incredible opportunity. To lead worship.

He'd trained me by example. By having me on his team. By opening up his heart and loving the Lord above his own glory or fame.

Jim was a '60s hippie and Nam vet who should've never lived to 63. In '68, he was a helicopter gunner and during a fight, his chopper was hit. Jim was thrown clean from the open door and landed in the brush.

When they were rescued, the team asked, "Where's the man who sat here?" They pointed to the gunner's seat.

Jim said, "I'm the gunner."

They said, "No, the man who sat here is dead." The bullet hole in the seat was proof. By all evidence, Jim should've been killed before he was thrown from the helicopter.

But the Lord spared him.

After searching through drugs and all the eastern, meditation religions, Jim started reading his Bible and the Lord awakened his dead, cold, wounded heart.

But Friday, while riding his motorcycle on the first pretty day of March, on his way to a park with his daughter and her son, a truck turned right at a light, didn't see him, and the accident was unavoidable.

Jim's death is tragic and a loss. We can't understand how God saved a drug addicted twenty year old but took a husband, father, grandfather and full time worshipper-intercessor.

But His ways are not our ways.

I like that Jim is in glory with Jesus. That his race on this earth is done. And he finished well.

What remains with me is his laugh. I can still hear his laugh. Jim's imprint is on my heart probably more than I'll ever know or realize. His wife and children blessed me. His son is like a brother to Hubby and me.

Hubby said this to me the day Jim died. "Jim survived Nam, but died on a spring day in Kansas City, riding his motorcycle. It's true. It's appointed once for man to die."

A friend of mine recalled this as one of Jim's prayer verses: Eph 4:1 "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called..."

Oh, let that be all of our prayer. To walk in a manner worthy of the calling.

Jim Maher, well done. See you soon.


Diane Marie Shaw said...

I am so sorry that you have lost a dear friend... for the time being. Reunion time will be glorious.

Lisa Jordan said...

Oh, Rach, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your mentor sounds like a terrific example of someone who let his light shine for Jesus. You've done well following in his footsteps. You're leaving imprints on the hearts of others. Love you, friend!

Rachel Hauck said...

Diane and Lisa, thanks so much. Hubby is on his way to the funeral tomorrow.

Still can't believe it... But it's comforting to remember this life is a vapor. An "internship" for the next.

Love, Rachel