MY DEAR FRIEND, JIM NIMNICHT, DIED ON DECEMBER 7. It was a personal, relational blow of major magnitude.
Death always makes us sad. But it’s not gut-wrenching until it’s up close and personal, until it takes someone you were just sitting next to in church, that you just shared lunch with a few weeks ago, someone you won’t see again this side of heaven. That’s my friend, Jim. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, award-winning college professor, golf buddy, rabid Husky fan, but most of all, a brother in the Lord, a fellow sojourner walking through life, impacting many along the way—including me. I’m sure if I could talk to him today, he would remind me to, “Look to the unseen things, to Jesus and the life to come because it is wonderful!”
While massaging the pain, my wife reminded me of these insightful words from the apostle Paul. They remind us of bigger things than our finite, limited, earth-bound perspective.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18
And so, even in our pain, Judy and I will lift our eyes to the world to come, to the time when we’ll see Christ as he is and, in the process, be transformed into his image (1 John 3:2-3). That is how Jim will look the next time I see him, full of life and health, breathing freely, his hearing, diminished for several years as mine is now, fully restored! We will rejoice together at our ability to hear the slightest whisper across the room.
Here’s the takeaway. Death is a wake-up call. It reminds us that we’re just passing through. This painful world is full of political unrest, broken relationships, and aging bodies, and life is a vapor, the blink of an eye.
We still have opportunities though to tell others about our glorious Savior and encourage them to cast their gaze to the life to come where every tear will be wiped away and Christ will make all things new.
That’s what Jim did, and he’d want us to do the same.