Choose Life - The Legacy of Geoff Richards
Tuesday, August 20 2019
An early-morning phone call brought sad-happy news to my day almost three years ago now: the day before, I was told, my friend Geoff Richards from Australia had gone to be with His Saviour and Lord in heaven.
I was sad because Geoff was a man with a deep, personal and vibrant relationship with Jesus – and every time he spoke or wrote something, his words were poetic and profound. I was going to miss that.
But I was happy because Geoff was now freed from the shackles of his sick and weary cancer-worn body – he was now enjoying his wife and his son and so many others who had moved on to heaven before him – and above and beyond all, he was delighting in the presence of the God he so loved and served here on earth.
Interestingly enough, he did not die from the cancer itself – although, as he once told us years ago, the X-ray of his body looked like a Christmas tree: a skeleton covered with spots of cancer all throughout. He lived for half a decade more, God staying the spreading of his cancer with His gracious and all-powerful hand, and allowing him more years on earth to be a witness to His words: “I am the resurrection and the life.” In God’s kindness, he ended up dying from a fall and a bang on the head, from which he never woke up and recovered. No agonizing withering away to nothing – just a fall, a bang, and his broken life here was transformed into a whole and eternal life over there.
As Geoff himself always said: God is so good to those who love Him!
Three years before then, back in April of 2013, Geoff had turned 70. I met him in August of 2011, so I only knew him for a very short time out of all the years of his life here on earth. But today, as I look back on the five years that I did know him, I feel like I was treated to a sliver of a slice of a delicious pie – a sliver of a slice that was more than enough to significantly speak to and nourish my heart!
He called himself a “pilgrim” – in fact, his Email address was pilgrimgeoff@... – because he had a profound sense that he was on a journey through this life here on earth towards an eternal life in heaven. His Emails were titled “Pilgrim Notes” – and each one was a beautiful, deep and poetic message filled with truth and life and joy.
In one that he wrote to me back in September of 2011, he spoke of being a “Choose Life-er” – because that was exactly what he was. The words from Deuteronomy 30:19-20 were a truth that significantly impacted him, and that he chose to live by. “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
One of his favourite sayings was, “I don't live under the shadow of death - I live in Christ who is my life."
Oh, how I long to live like Geoff lived!
- deeply conscious of my own “pilgrim journey” here on earth
- being a “Choose Life-er”: choosing life and blessings for myself and for my children, as God urges and commands – for He Himself is our life
- truly and profoundly understanding that “I don’t live under the shadow of death – I live in Christ who is my life.”
How about you, dear friend? Will you too be a “pilgrim” and a “choose life-er”? Will you too live, not under the shadow of death, but always in Christ who is your life? I hope and pray so.
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