Joe and the Bible…

I didn’t know Joe very well. Our crews had ‘ganged up’ a few times when we did a big deck. A couple of times we had sat together at the bar complaining about the condition of the world. I did not know him well, but now he was dead.
The accident had happened around 10:30 PM on Thursday. Up till then it had been a normal swing shift night, a lot of ‘curtain walls’ being set by my crew. I could see across the building his crew was stocking a deck with 60’ bundles of #11 rebar, when it happened. A sling broke and the bundle let loose, Joe was under the load. Sirens blared and the jobsite EMT’s were rushed in but it was no use, Joe was dead.
I found out at the funeral he was my age about 27 years old, a wife and two kids. They sat together in the front pew of the big Baptist church where the service was held. I stared at those kids, they looked to be no more than 2 or 3 years old, their daddy was dead and they would never see him again.
I listened to the minister drone on and on about how Joe was in a better place, he was now with his father in heaven. But none of what he was saying made any sense to me. All I could see was kids without a dad, a wife without a husband. It was just a crock to believe that there was this God who loved us yet He allowed a good man to die without any rhyme or reason.
The fact is I am not writing about death today, because something happened as I was leaving the church which many years later would help me to see that my reasoning might not always be God’s or my timing either.
The casket was carried out followed by the family. The rest of us shuffled out, I wanted to head to a local watering hole to get a couple stiff drinks. As I got outside I felt a hand on my arm. As I turned to look, it was Joe’s wife. I was surprised and tried to mumble some words of sympathy but she stopped me. Quietly she said, “Joe told me you were a good guy. He was going to give you something, but never got around to it.” With that she handed me a Bible and without saying another word turned and left.
The bible had a worn red cover and as I opened it I could see that many verses had been underlined and some of them highlighted. None it meant anything to me. I could not understand why a guy I barely knew wanted me to have it or why his wife would go out of her way to give it to me. As I got in my truck, I tucked the Bible under the seat. It stayed there until I was cleaning out my truck when I found it again. Still not wanting to think about it, I brought it in the house and threw it into my traveling trunk.
I never did think of it again well at least not until 2009. In that year, I was challenged to read the Bible, I looked through the books on the shelf and there was an old Bible with a red, worn cover. I thought it belonged to my wife. But as I opened it something in the back of my mind yanked at me. Suddenly I remembered Joe and his wife. Could this be the same Bible? No way that was 25 or 30 years ago. I opened it, no name anywhere but many verses were underlined and some were highlighted. I asked my wife where it had come from and she could not remember, it had been around a while is all she said. It was then I noticed an old bookmark and I opened to that page. Only one verse was underlined, I read: “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2Corinthians 12:9)
I did not know it back in 2009 but that verse would lead to conviction and believe in Christ life and death being ‘sufficient’ to save me, through the grace of God. It would be a verse I would go back to time and time again. In fact, I went there today and it reminded me as it always does of Joe.
I guess you would like to know if the Bible I found was the one Joe’s wife gave me but I have never been sure. I like to believe it is. That Joe wanted me to know there is a God whose grace is enough to save and its power is perfect when we are ready to submit. I sure believe that now and I will have to wait till Jesus comes again to see Joe and thank him.
Blessings John