And you didn’t know that Words Sketches could apply to people–did you? Now, you know!
As far as I can deduce, his name means “Beloved of the Lord” or “One whom the Lord loves”. He is like David in that he loves to praise his Creator and in that he knows how to defeat the giants of pain and difficulty through the small, smooth stones of prayer and the slingshot of faith. Like Solomon, too, in the wisdom he has received.
Many mornings, I awake to find an E-mail from him in my inbox. “Daily Bible Verse”, it proclaims. But he doesn’t just send every Bible verse he receives from a daily-devotional service; he chooses those that speak to him, those he knows will speak to me. Yesterday, it was Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” What does that verse say to him? Or what about the one from II Corinthians 1 on the comfort of the Holy Spirit? What does he think, feel, hold dear in his heart, when he reads these? Someday, someday… I will ask him.
His favorite version of the Bible is the NIV. He owns a small, thin, leather Bible given to him by someone very special in our lives. It’s worn and beautiful. When it’s open, as it often is–to John or Psalms or Proverbs–the pages crackle with use as he turns them. He also has an audio edition that I know he listens to in those quiet hours that so shape our spiritual lives. He is an extremely early riser; I wonder if those are his “quiet hours”, and how he spends them–or if his moments come later in the day. Again, someday, I will ask.
He loves the book of Hebrews. That General Epistle was the first portion of Scripture he read after giving his life to our Lord Jesus. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,” I can hear him intoning. “[Jesus]… has been made so much greater than the angels…” “The Word of God is powerful… sharper than any two-edged sword…” Words about entering God’s rest, ad our Great High Priest. I will ask him what his favorite portion of that precious book is someday, I will.
He knows Nehemiah. And Exodus, and John, and Isaiah, and Psalms. He does not quote them linearly. Instead, he strings passages together until they exude the awesome power of God. Part of this, I know, is due to the fact that the Lord has given him a pattern of sorts to follow in his Bible reading–one Psalm, one Proverb, and two chapters of the New Testament. That explains that, but when in the day, and with this pattern, is he getting the opportunity to read Nehemiah, Job, and Exodus? More questions.
He is strong of heart, mind, and body. Time and again, I have heard him proclaim that he will tackle some great project that requires much advanced thought and planning. He isn’t a computer geek, exactly–that’s not his life’s passion–but he can fix almost any piece of technology you set before him, albeit the software ever so outdated or the hardware ever so damaged. Analytics, my dear reader, analytics. He will install a new bathroom toilet and sink, he says, or fix the wiring and light/fan fixtures from thirty years ago, or build a much-needed wall in such a way that it is indistinguishable from the other existing walls. And if anyone can do it, he does. He builds and fixes wooden patio decks, removes and installs landscaping, and generally shores up any indoor and outdoor structure he comes across–all while listening to “Better Is One Day” on that radio of his. That, or the news–but I remember “Better Is One Day”. What goes through his mind as he is doing these projects? More I ought to know, more I don’t, as yet.
He loves to praise the Lord, and he loves good Christian music. I know for a fact that he likes Keith Green, particularly the songs “The Lord Is My Shepherd”, “Pledge My Head to Heaven”, and “Trials Turned to Gold”. He has a familiarity with Don Francisco’s early music that I would love to share. When he hears a song at church, his heart picks it up almost immediately and clings to it. Keith Green notwithstanding, I know he knows so many of our modern anthems–“How Great Is Our God”, “Holy Is the Lord”, “Ten Thousand Reasons”, “My Redeemer Lives”, and some older ones like “His Name Is Wonderful” and “Because He Lives”. I wonder if he knows “In Christ Alone”, if he has sung it in some Christian gathering where I was not present. Note to self: inquire. There for awhile, he was wearing out Michael W. Smith’s worship albums until, I suppose, the car stereo ate them up. Or did it? Does he still devour Michael W. Smith’s versions of “You Are Holy”, “Open the Eyes of My Heart”, and “Alleluia, Alleluia, Worthy Is the Lamb”? I must remember to ask.
He is my transportation to hymn-sings, church services, and coffee meet-ups with other brothers and sisters in Christ. He also lends out the car and his services for medical appointments, the occasional journey to the local French restaurant, and trips to WalMart and King Sooper’s. Does he remember shuttling me from place to place on 10 December 2003–from one boring function to another? Does he remember transforming the decidedly unedifying experience into a Spirit-led venture, remember that somewhat rickety vehicle and how its heating system warmed our hands agains the winter chill while the Christian radio station kindled joy and peace in our hearts? Does he remember?
He colaborates on profound spiritual projects. Last year, it was the Red Letters from the book of Luke. Many, many hours were spent with cups of coffee, a voice recorder, and the precious Word of God as his firm yet peace-filled voice read of salt light, wheat and fig trees, minas and talents, faithfulness and rest. Does he remember the joy of it all? Another time, he and several others close to me took turns reading THE CALLING by Brother Andrew–primarily at a time when I could not gain access to the book save through human narration. I wonder, does he remember reading about Project Pearl, Brother Andrew’s quest to deliver one million Bibles to Chinese Christians during the 1980s?
He knows what an allegory is; he learned, because I love that literary device. He knows that I can’t stand carbinated beverages but love tea, chai, and all manner of coffee drinks. He even knows how to make a delightful concoction I have designated the ChOrNillaMon Mocha–chocolate, orange extract, vanilla, and cinnamon. He is the only one who knows how to make it, and that requires a certain amount of gentleness beneath the oaken strength. He knows not to offer advice when some part of me breaks–he knows to pray and offer Scripture instead. He knows that the best remedy for Hannah’s ails is an iPad game and a funny television show, but the best way to cure my temporal pains is to offer a brisk walk that culminates at a park somewhere. He knows how much I love the chimes–the Northern Lights, I call them–and so presents me with copious sets to be hung wherever a breeze is likely to blow. He knows all these things, but does he know how much it means to me that he does–that he understands and remembers and respects the important things in life? Does he know?
This is Jedidiah–David-Solomon, beloved of the Lord.