I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
This past week I drove to Philadelphia to visit a former missionary whom I have known for around 35 years. His name is Tim McIntosh. Back when I had just become a pastor, Tim and Deb McIntosh were starting out as missionaries to Peru. Deb was from Lancaster County and she had a sister who had attended LEFC (Lancaster Evangelical Free Church – the church that I was pastoring) off and on for several years. I'm not sure if it was because of Deb's sister but somehow a contact had been made with Tim and Deb and the church had agreed to help take on their financial support.
Tim and Deb served faithfully in Lima, Peru, actively seeking to see people come to Christ and to see an evangelical church be established. Their dream became a reality and so it was our pleasure through the years to hear about the work. Over time Tim's role changed as he became more and more a mentor to younger missionaries. That change in roles, coupled with Deb's increasing activity as a counselor, eventually led them to return – at least for awhile – to the U.S.
Tim, as far back as I have known him, has had problems with kidney stones. At times, this problem has really crippled Tim, sending him again and again to the hospital. Recently yet another bout with kidney stones landed him in a hospital in Philadelphia. But it was this most recent episode that led to a discovering of a far bigger issue – a brain tumor – an unusually aggressive cancer called Richter's Transformation. The upshot of this is that Deb has been informed that Tim’s situation could quickly become grave. Tim has also been made aware of this. And so I went to visit, to pray for Tim and to potentially say goodbye.
Could God miraculously heal Tim? Of course. Will God do that? Who knows? But Tim is prepared to leave this life and face God in judgment. For with the apostle Paul Tim can say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Can you or I say that? What if this were our very last Thanksgiving? Will we end well? End well my friends…end well.