In Loving Memory of My Husband, James “Jim” H. Floyd, Jr., 1962 – 2017
As I reflect on the life of my husband Jim, I see God as a Master Weaver using dark threads intertwined with silver and gold, creating a beautiful “Crown of Life” tapestry. A reflection of every person’s life can be found within the weaving created with great love and attention at the Master’s hands. I am sure that Jim has laid his at the feet of Jesus.
You see, for most of our marriage Jim battled chronic health conditions: migraines, brittle diabetes, kidney and liver failure, just to name a few. Although he quietly suffered without complaining, the pain changed him. He went from being a happy and friendly sort of person (his friends even nicknamed him the “Happy Hawaiian”) to a reclusive cynic.
Worse, during those difficult pain-ridden days Jim experienced a “crisis of faith.” At one point he announced that he was taking off the cross necklace he had worn since he had rededicated his life to Jesus before I met him. It was a profound statement to me about where Jim was in his walk with Christ. Yet, even during this time of spiritual doubt, Jim still saw himself as a child of God—though a prodigal child.
He still believed, but found himself in a dungeon of doubt, even questioning the very character of God. He would ask questions like, “What sort of God would…?” or, “If He is a loving God then why…?” There were times he would ask me some really challenging spiritual questions. I often felt
unqualified to answer them, so I recommended that he go speak with my pastor. This he did, but he came back still full of doubt, uncertainty, and nagging questions. He made the statement that all he got was what he called “an equated version of circular reasoning” based on simple quotations of Scripture, but never truly answering the heart of his questions. His doubts about the Word of God, its seeming inconsistencies, and the true nature of God’s character remained.
But still he searched, searched for reasoning, for logical answers to his questions. I remember once during his continued quest for answers, he asked me one of his spiritually challenging questions. He stated he didn’t want to talk to a pastor or consult a biblical theologian, he just wanted to hear his wife’s thoughts. He asked, “Why would a ‘God of Love’ choose to save the fallen human race by sacrificing His only Son to die such a torturing death? Couldn’t the Creator of heaven and earth have chosen a different plan?”
That took me aback. “Oh God, help!” I thought to myself. Then I took a deep breath and asked the Holy Spirit to give me an answer, an answer that would bring some peace to Jim. I simply said, “It
just proves to me how profoundly deep and sacrificial God’s love is. Jesus is the perfect example of that love—the kind of love that lays down its life for another, even an enemy. It shows me just how much God didn’t want Heaven to be without us.”
Much to my surprise, he didn’t fire any more questions at me. He just turned and slowly walked away. He never did say, but maybe that answer gave him some semblance of peace.
It was painful to watch as my husband struggled with his faith in God, knowing there was little I could do. So I did the only thing I knew, and that was go before Jesus in prayer and humbly ask Him not to take Jim before he was ready.
Jim’s chronic health concerns were not easy for any of us. There were several occasions when either our son or I would come home and find Jim passed out on the floor from low blood sugar. Not knowing how long he had lain there, we prayed that the glucagon shots we administered would revive him. Thankfully, they did. But the stress of dialysis and several surgical procedures, including a liver and kidney transplant, continued to be hard on us as individuals, a couple, and a family. Yet through it all I felt as though Jesus was telling me not to worry, because even if God called Jim home, it would only take one look at his Savior and all his unanswered questions would be answered. That gave me great comfort and peace.
A year and a half after his liver and kidney transplant, Jim contracted pneumonia. During that time, I had the privilege of witnessing how God’s amazing grace restored Jim’s heart back to faith in God. I remember the last few words he spoke to me before he was hospitalized. He said, “It’s all about faith. If I could understand everything, it wouldn’t take faith, and it takes faith to please God.” Wow! It was in that moment I knew my prayers had been answered. God’s restorative grace and mercy had filled my husband’s heart with faith once again.
For weeks prior to Jim’s death, he could no longer communicate with me verbally, due to a tracheotomy, so he spoke to me through sign language. He let me know Jesus was in his heart, and that he was at peace with God. I can confidently say that God faithfully answered my prayer not to take Jim before he was ready. God is so good!!
To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, “This life is just shadows; real life hasn’t begun yet.” Praise God, the best is yet to come! I know Jim is experiencing “real life” now with his Lord and Savior with all his questions answered. Alleluia!
I will end with a quote from my pastor who spoke at Jim’s memorial service. He said, “The good news about being a Christian is—it’s not ‘Goodbye,’ it’s ‘See you later!’” Letting go of someone we love is never easy, but it’s a whole lot easier when we know we will see them again. Alleluia!!!