On June 11, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. Jerry Glenn Roady left this life and met his Lord and Savior. The man who had lived through incredible health challenges, predictions of early death and according the doctors was to be confined to a wheel chair for life; died of a kidney stone. Many would look at it as ironic or a tragedy after all he had faced, but I know without a doubt, he died of no particular cause. His death resulted in the Lord saying, “Time to come home Jerry and be with Me.”
I was reminded of when he had his first bypass surgery at the age of 25 and showed faith and courage way beyond his years. I was left to share the doctor’s dire diagnosis of a much shortened life as they could not bear to give a young man such tragic news. I sat crying and he lay in the bed very calm. I asked him, “Aren’t you afraid?” He answered, “No, because if I am to live to 80 I will live inspite of heart disease, and if I am to die at 31, I will die whether or not I have heart disease. Don’t you see? It won’t be heart disease that takes me, it will be the Lord.” His words all those years ago proved true.
Many of you have faced this same journey and understand all I am facing. It is as if I have started on a trip in the blackness of night, in a car with no headlights and I have no idea where I am going. My heart is broken and I feel as if I have been cut in half. No words can express my pain.
Yet I know it is a part of life we must all face someday. I know without a doubt it was Jerry’s time to go to his heavenly home. God never says “oops”. I know having him 5, 10, 15 or 20 more years would not have been enough and I would have been right where I am at now. Not even knowing that it was my last day or week or month with him would have helped, for there is no way we can ever give enough hugs, kisses and words of love.
I praise God for everything as He is carrying me every step of the way from the last night in ICU to right now. I feel the prayers of others. At the same time I have experienced Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
In the midst of such paralyzing sorrow, there are things I find joy in and thank the Lord with a full and grateful heart. I would like to share these with you.
1. I was the ONE blessed to have Jerry as my husband, best friend, soul mate, and pastor. My daughters were blessed to have him as their father. I never met a man so Christ like. I don’t know how many times people would comment on how they could see Christ living in and through him.
2. I had almost 41 1/2 years with him. Nothing short of a miraculous testimony of God’s mercy and love, considering at the age 25 the doctors gave him 6-8 years to live. The doctor that actually saw his heart and held it in his hands said Jerry had the heart of a 75 year old man. In his unfailing sense of humor the first time he went to the pharmacy for a prescription he asked if he could get the “senior citizen’s discount”. I have thanked God for every year, every anniversary, every birthday and I will continue to even though there will be no more.
3. Although he had many medical challenges he lived his life as a well man. He lived life to the fullest for many years without many of the physical hindrances most would experience. Yes there were difficulties and pain but in his courage he made it look simple to those around. He lived life to the fullest and enjoyed doing the things he loved.
4. I was part of an amazing ministry and knew a giant among Christians intimately. I am saddened that I will never hear another sermon or lesson or hear him pray for me, but I have all that he taught me about God and His Word in my heart. I am forever changed by the person he helped me become through his example. He truly lived what he taught and professed.
5. Jerry was happy and active up to the day before he died. He worked in the yard, moved a huge potted plant around, arranged lawn timbers for a palm garden he had laid out in the front yard and moved heavy rocks with no difficulty. He had great joy and future plans for so many things for his family, his church, and his home.
6. This one may sound strange, but I thank the Lord in how He took him. I had prayed for many years, “Lord, when you take him do not let him suffer and linger. Take him during a surgery or in his sleep. Also Lord, I know it will be you that takes him as you are the Giver and Taker of life, but as a special sign for me, don’t let his defibrillator work or something like that.”
It may have been a silly prayer to some but a sincere heartfelt one on my part. The week before he was in the ER for bronchitis and a cough, and his EKG was so normal that the doctor other than looking at his information didn’t know he had a heart condition. I cannot tell you the last time he had a normal EKG.
A couple of weeks before he died his defibrillator were checked and it was fine. On his last day in the hospital, in all the times his heart had irregular beats and stopped it never worked once, which was very puzzling to the doctors. As soon as he died it began giving discharges. For many this might be disturbing but it gave me peace. It was his time to go be with the Lord. As our daughter Aimee said, it was his time to go receive his rewards of his Heavenly Father.
7. I know he was ready to go. The Sunday before he died I had nursery duty and missed the sermon. I found it on his computer. He had preached about grief and sorrow, and how God longs to comfort us. After reading it I realized, unbeknownst to him, he was preaching it for those he would leave behind. A few weeks after his death Ashley remembered in the sermon he said, “I can say this because Narita isn’t in her; it upsets her when I say it.” ( He had said this a few months earlier in a sermon and afterwards I had told him not to be saying that!) “I am ready to go to heaven right now. I am so excited about going and seeing my Savior. The only thing holding me here now is Narita and the girls”.
I know Jerry lives on in perfection and joy with the One that created and loves him more than I ever could. I know I will see him again and live for eternity with happiness we could never have experienced here. I rejoice at what he is gained but grieve in my loss.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is difficult to express my gratitude for the out pouring of prayers, love, cards, and calls. Thank you so much to the B.M.A of Oklahoma for your support and making the transition of all the financial information. Jerry loved serving as Mission’s Director. He loved the B.M.A. of Oklahoma and so enjoyed all opportunities he had to visit with all his brothers and sisters in Christ. Please continue to pray for me and our family. I am not strong but my Lord is.
I would like to share with you the scripture the Lord led our daughter, Amber to when we were searching for a scripture for the funeral programs. I truly believe this perfectly describes Jerry, his ministry and his life.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine,
manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
Persecutions, afflictions, . . .
what persecutions I endured:
but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
2 Timothy 3:10-11
Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, August 2013
Today would have been Jerry’s 61st birthday. I wanted to wish him Happy Birthday on his first birthday in Heaven. But then I realized it is only his “would be” birthday to us. He no longer has birthdays but eternity. I can picture his smile, his laughter, his jokes ( and seriousness) about being the “birthday boy” and all the privileges (many he made up along the way LOL) that went with it. His joy at celebrating another birthday. Today I celebrate that I had him as my husband and best friend, but I cry because I miss him so much. I thank God for his life and giving him to me all those years. My tears are selfish tears for me because I know his unimaginable joy and happiness surpasses any party or gift we could give him here. I love you Sweetheart and will forever.