I met Kathy Price while serving at a food distribution event for our community at Springbrook almost 2 years ago. She had such a pleasant spirit about her and we had a really good conversation. She told me she had no friends or family and that she lived alone on the streets of a neighboring town. She would call me at the office occasionally to ask about the next food truck, and then later would be began asking me if there was any way I could help her financially.
In Matthew 25 beginning in verse 31, Jesus talking about His 2nd coming and final judgement, describes the faithfulness of His disciples as those that provided for others in need as if they were providing for Him directly. These passages continually came to mind as my relationship with Kathy continued, but so did this feeling of caution, especially after she had told me doctors were only giving her 1 or 2 months to live almost a year earlier. I was never quite sure I was getting the whole story.
It was interesting getting to know Kathy. She had a habit of just showing up at the office to ask for financial support. She always seemed to have this outlandish catastrophic story for which she needed money. On several occasions, my wife and I drove over to the neighboring town to pay for food or supplies. One time I had to make arrangements to transfer funds to a local grocery store because she was making a scene in the checkout lane about needing to purchase food and not having any money.
Several of the local retailers in her community knew her, and all of them appeared to be worn down from working with her. Once she was comfortable coming to my office and got my cell phone number, that overwhelming feeling began to overtake me too. I tried inviting her to church, but she was never able to attend. I tried to introduce her to others when she came by the office, but she always had to leave because her ride couldn’t wait for her.
One day when she “stopped by the office” with her dilemma for the week, more out of frustration than anything, I told her what she really needed was Christ! Probably not the best technique for sharing my faith, but to my surprise she said, “I know.” That got my attention.
As I sat and listened further to the fullness of her story unfold, it was heart-breaking. We were talking about the effects of sin in this word apart from God’s design, God’s plan for us in spite our condition, and the hope that is ours as a result of our relationship with Jesus Christ. After 30 minutes of conversation, with tears flowing down her face, she said, “I want a relationship with Jesus, what do I need to do?”
Kathy became a Christ-follower that day. I continued working with her and helping where I could, but everything I did always seemed to fall short of the condition she found herself in. I always walked away from my conversations with her wishing I could just fix her problems, but always faced with the reality that all I could do was support the best I could.
This past Friday, Good Friday, I received a notification that Kathy had passed away. After 2 years of praying that God would provide for her physical and spiritual needs, I am so grateful that I can rejoice that Kathy today, is in God’s presence. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” I know that Kathy is in good hands now.
Kathy had purchased a bus ticket to Florida where she knew she would find a warmer climate. I don’t know if anyone will plan a funeral or if the state will provide a place for burial. I don’t know who to even call to find any information, and I don’t know that she left anyone behind. I do know that for the short time I knew her, she helped me learn to be more compassionate. She reminded me of the importance of caring for others in need. And she has reminded me of the hope that is mine in Christ Jesus.
I wanted someone else to know that Kathy has gone to be with Jesus. I will miss Kathy, her raspy voice and childlike smile, but know that one day I will get to see her again under the best of circumstances! Until that day, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace that is found only in Christ.
In His Grip,