My Dad’s night nurse this time was Lisa. She came into the room during the night and said, “This is a good man!” Mona said, “Why do you say that?” The nurse went on to say that she had watched Dad on TV for years. She went on to tell about how several years ago he had helped her through a very difficult time in her life. Today I was called out of the room to the waiting are by our dear friend Rick Glass. He and sweet Marilyn had brought communion for all of our family who were here at the hospital.
While in the waiting area I met a couple I had never met. This brother told me about how they had met Dad, how he had taught them the Gospel, and how he had influenced their lives more than anyone else.
On the way back to Dad’s room I stopped for a minute and broke down. I was wondering how many hundreds of people who are just like this couple? People I have never met, who are now my brothers and sisters in the Lord because they had the privilege of meeting my Dad.
In the past few days numerous people have come to the hospital and told us that Dad taught them the Gospel. Dad has been a machine when it comes to soul winning. I fully realize he is not the only man in the church who is or has been a soul winner, but he has done more in the realm of teaching others about Jesus than anyone I have ever known. THIS IS A GOOD MAN!
One of our favorite doctors at the hospital has been a wonderful young lady from Pennsylvania. She stopped us the other day while we were coming out of Dad’s room and asked if she could speak with us? She told us about how just recently she learned that her grandmother had a massive stroke. She said the night she found out she wondered how in the world she would be able to go to work? She said, “I wanted to be anywhere but at work.” She said that morning as she drove in to work she was dreading the day. She said that dad was her first patient to see that day. She recounted how she walked in and said, “Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Jenkins. He turned his head towards me and took my hand and squeezed it and I knew everything would be alright.” THIS IS A GOOD MAN!
It started about four weeks ago while we were own our way to Oklahoma for a Family Seminar and the birth of our first Grandchild. Just as we were leaving the Metroplex we got a phone call from Mona telling us that Dad had been taken to UAB hospital in Birmingham with a possible minor stroke and minor heart attack. She said, “we don’t think there is much cause for concern, but I will keep you posted.” I asked if I needed to come to Birmingham? She said, “No, I promise I’ll keep you posted.”
We went on and conducted the seminar while receiving updates from Dad and it appeared that everything was okay. In the mean time, did I mention that we were also going to be in Oklahoma for the birth of our first Grandchild? Well, little Evie made her grand entrance on Tuesday afternoon, and it may surprise you to hear this, but she is the most beautiful grand baby in the world!!
By that Thursday Dad was doing well enough to be moved to Spain Rehab and begin his rehabilitation. We were told it would take about three weeks for him to recover. The next day he suffered a major stroke and was taken back to UAB Hospital. The past three weeks have been a roller coaster for our family. During the past few difficult days Dad has suffered numerous setbacks.
Our Doctors have informed us that Dad has had multiple heart attacks and strokes. Yesterday he suffered a Massive Heart Attack. The doctors say he has had Multiple Organ System Failure. There are too many problems working against him and he has not responded in a positive way to what they are attempting to do for Him.
The doctors and the entire medical staff here at UAB have been extraordinary. We do not believe Dad could have been given better attention and help anywhere else in the world. We will forever be thankful for what the wonderful people here have done for our Dad.
I’m certain that much more will be said about this in time, but allow me to just say that our Roebuck Parkway church family also has abundantly blessed us. This church has been our home church for more than forty-four years. During this trying time these wonderful Christians have supported us in more ways than we can possibly enumerate here. They have brought food, offered their homes for our family, sent words of encouragement (cards, emails, Face book, texts, etc.), and come to the hospital to sit for hours with us.
You brethren from Roebuck Parkway should know that Dad loves you tremendously. Many of you have been his family and his life for forty-four years. As a Preacher it is astounding to me to know congregations like Roebuck Parkway and preachers like Dad who can work together so successfully for that length of time. You are a model Church and our family is forever indebted to you for what you mean to Dad. THIS IS A GOOD MAN!
By working together all of these years with the Lord's help you and Dad have accomplished so much together. Think about all of the campaigns, the Living Word Telecast, Jefferson Christian Academy, Birmingham Bible School for the Deaf, your work with Maywood Christian Camp, Rainbow Omega, and so many other good works. THIS IS A GOOD MAN!
Our Preaching friends who have supported us have also blessed us during this time. Men who have known Dad for fifty plus years have come and told us how much he has influenced their lives. Younger Preaching brothers who are friends of our family have driven hours just to come and pray with us, to let us know of their love for our family, and to tell us how our Dad has influenced them. THIS IS A GOOD MAN!
One Preacher wrote, “One of the greatest men I have ever known. He truly is an awesome man. We had occasion to talk with him about 1967, and he had an impact upon us then, and that has continued.” Another friend wrote these words, “I hope you take great comfort in the fact your dad was one of top field generals of all time in the Lord's Army!” THIS IS A GOOD MAN!
My conviction is that he has no idea how many people he has influenced. He is an humble man who treats everybody the same. The closing verse in Rudyard Kipling's "If" reminds me of this good man. "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much, If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!"
This has been difficult for me in some ways. I was not ready for this to happen. I wish I could have more time with Dad. I want to learn more from him about our family heritage, more about what it was like during his early years of Preaching, and more about how he has been able to work so successfully with one church for so many years. I want to learn more from him about kindness, compassion, love for lost people, and how to treat the hurting people of the world. I want to go to one more ball game with him, make one more trip with him, I would love to hear him teach “God Speaks Today,” and I would love to hear him preach more of his powerful, scripture saturated sermons. I would love just one more time to watch him as he watches his beloved Crimson Tide play football. I would love to sit in his den one more time and watch him as he studies the Word and prepares a sermon. I would love to watch the twinkle in his eye when he listens to his grandchildren sing, and oh how much fun it would be to get to see him hold his new great-grand daughter! THIS IS A GOOD MAN!
As much as I would love for all of this to be true, tonight as I sit beside my Dad’s bet with tears in my eyes, I realize these things are not likely to happen. It is his time for Dad to go home. I am convinced in my heart that my Dad is going home because he has literally warn himself out in the service of the Lord. He deserves the reward he is about to receive as much as anyone I know. I believe he will soon be welcomed into his eternal home where he will receive the victor’s crown. I believe that though there will be a void in our hearts, Heaven will be sweeter when he arrives. THIS IS A GOOD MAN!
Dear God up in Heaven, thank you for blessing so many lives through the life of this good man. Thank you for those who will be in Heaven throughout eternity because they had a chance to meet him. Thank you for allowing his family to be blessed by him for these many years. Thank you God for giving us these last few days to spend with this good man and with our family. Help me Lord to imitate the life of this good man just as He has imitated Jesus. In the powerful Name of our Savior, Amen.