This morning, my sweet friend Jim Watts went to be with Jesus.

Jim was that guy at church that you wanted to see every Sunday because he greeted you with an encouraging word and a big bear hug. If you were down, he listened and then said something caring and funny to pick you up. Some of my earliest memories trying to get to know people at my church when I first joined were fellowships with Jim behind the grill. One of my most favorite things is a homemade hamburger and I swear he could make one (with his special spices) that could win a contest.

As I was finishing up my treatments in 08, Jim was diagnosed with colon cancer, and we walked the journey together over the past several years. His sweet wife Phyllis, or “Mama Bear” as Jim called her, has been through her own treatment and surgeries as well for cancer and their attitude going through this together was so strong.

Phyllis is a “put on your big girl panties type of girl” (now you know why we get along so well) and their strong faith has touched my heart. Jim always wanted to be at church if he could. He usually ran the camera at the end of the main aisle at church. And, when I was on the stage for Praise team, it was always an encouragement to see him back there. Even when he was too sick to be there, Phyllis comes and just sings her heart out. It’s amazing to watch someone who is worshiping through this type of experience. Her smile is so pure and you can tell it is from a clean heart that has a special relationship with her Lord.

When I got the news this morning, my heart hurt. And, as I read through comments on her facebook page this afternoon, my heart was full of memories of our sweet friend Jim.

I’m not sure when I will understand why the good ones have to go. It just doesn’t make sense. All I can believe is that we serve a faithful God and if His promises are true, then we have to believe that when we are in the pit, He loves us and still has the best intentions for us.

I cannot imagine or begin to feel what Phyllis and her girls are going through. They are my age, and they just lost their daddy.

I lost a friend, a cancer hero, a journey traveler, an encourager, a faithful man. And, as much as we love him, I can only imagine that His Father loved him more. And when he flew to heaven, he was greeted with a “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.

May today inspire me to live everyday differently. And, may I not quickly forget how important it is love people and serve them with whatever God has laid before me. We are each given one go round…how will we spend it?