What a week it has been. So much joy, yet so much sorrow. So much discouragement, yet so much hope. Thus is life! We went from watching a man gather his family around him to be baptized, to three days later, him transitioning to his eternal home. But, most importantly, what we saw was a man who BELIEVED with all his heart in his God, and wanted to make sure those around him KNEW what he believed. You see, we can sit in a pew our entire life and never really make an impact for the Kingdom of God. But, what Paul McCain did, not just this week, but for months now, was point those he knew, to the only truth he knew, that there IS a God, there IS a Heaven, and that he KNEW where he was going when he left this earth.
What I witnessed this week was an amazing display of love, and a true picture of what Christianity looks like. Paul was not surrounded by a large Church family, but he was surrounded by a large Christian family. We all came together, and our denominational differences didn’t matter. Our labels, Baptist, Pentecostal, Church of God, were not important. What was important was that the Holy Spirit was welcome, and that we were in an atmosphere of love. I felt that the moment I walked in the door the night Paul was baptized. EVERYONE was welcome! In the room with us I knew we had non believers and believers alike. Even at least one who claims to be an atheist. Although, I cannot imagine leaving that place, after being in the presence of Almighty God, and still not believe.
The sad truth is there are people who just refuse to see the truth. I would hate to experience what our families went through this week without our faith in God. What a different experience that would have been. To lay there, suffering like Paul was, with no hope of an eternal life. For family to just say, oh well, he’s gone now. We will just have to deal with it the best we can. After all, time heals all wounds, right? I guess if misery is the way they chose to live and exit this world, oh well, that is their choice. God, does give us free will! But Paul wanted to do everything in his power to make sure not one of his family or friends goes down that dark road of despair. He wanted to show us all what hope looks like; hope in eternal life, that will be spent with EVERYONE he loved here on earth. In the end, that was his final wish.
When Paul started reading my articles on a daily basis, I knew God was calling him home. The closer Paul got to the end, the stronger his relationship with God became. I did not know Paul his entire life, nor did I know much about his prior relationship with Christ. But, I am one who believes, the proof is in the pudding. For the last several years Paul, with my sister with him EVERY step of the way, fought this cancer with all he had; and most importantly, he finished his journey by not just keeping the faith, but by sharing that faith with all he knew.
To me, Paul will be remembered for his selfless acts of love. First, in the way he loved my sister. I had never seen her happier, nor more in love; and that love was so perfectly displayed these last few years. Paul left this place, in the most perfectly peaceful way possible, in his own home, listening to God’s Holy Word. What a beautiful and most deserved blessing he received from the Lord. Next, for the acts of love he showed us. I remember back around 2008 when our car broke down. Paul brought his trailer all the way to Ridgeland, helped load our car on it, and took our car to the dealership to be repaired. Then, when a storm blew the roof off of the back part of my parents home. My son Garry and I came and tore the old roof down, but then Paul came and helped Garry put a new roof on. He was right in the middle of his cancer battle, and hurting every minute he worked. But he saw a need, knew he could help, and gave it everything he had. Finally, what many people probably do not know is that it was Paul and Debbie who convinced me to take my Angel to the Cancer Treatment Center of America, and she got there just in time. She was knocking at deaths door and we didn’t even know it. But, we got there and they now have her as healthy as she has been in a long time. Paul was always looking out for Janice, and wanted to make sure she got the best care possible. I will always be eternally grateful for that gift that has at least given us hope.
The Lord woke me up early this morning with Paul, my sister, and his entire family on my heart. I know there are so many who loved Paul, and was there for him in the end. But there were a few things I witnessed that really touched my heart. First, was watching his daughter, Jackie Watts by her daddy’s side at Hospice Ministries. What love she displayed for her father. What a blessing that had to be for this man, in his final hours, to have his precious child there at his side, tending to his every need. Then, his sister, Regina Speagle as she videod her brothers baptism. It was so hard, yet so inspiring to see her watch this special moment, with tears streaming down her face. She was so hurting to watch her brother in that condition, yet so proud of him at the same time. Finally, just watching my sister tend to Paul’s every need. To be by his side, showing us all what the vow, “in sickness and in health” truly means. I know I was so inspired by her faithfulness, and am so glad she was able to help give her love the ending he both wanted and deserved, by getting him home just in time. That was where he wanted to leave this earth, at home with family, and we are so grateful that prayer was answered. When I see how much this man was loved, tells me all I need to know, and how the Lord allowed him to have such a perfect ending to his journey. Paul McCain, like another Paul we all know from the Bible, fought the good fight, he finished the race, and most importantly, he kept the faith. What a perfect ending to a selfless life. Thank you Father for the gift that was Paul McCain, and sharing that gift with us.
Now Father, I ask that you be with all who are hurting this morning. Wrap Your loving arms around them, and let them know You are near. There are no words that will truly bring them comfort, but You ARE the Great Comforter, so may Your love consume them as they go through these next few days. Just as Paul showed us all, THERE IS HOPE, when we put our faith and trust in You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN!
From my heart to yours!