Monday, April 30, 2007

A Faithful Servant


Sunday afternoon Josh, his mom, and I were visiting after Kids' Village when Josh got a phone call. He disappeared into the other room to take it. When he came back out I could tell by the look on his face that something was wrong. "That was my dad calling to say that Tom Bailey just died."

What? What do you mean? He died? These were all thoughts racing through my mind as I tried to process what Josh was saying. I couldn't believe it was real. It came as such a shock. This was Tom Bailey. The man who led Josh to Christ in his living room almost eleven years ago. Just last Saturday we laughed with him in the foyer and talked of that steak dinner that we needed to enjoy together sometime soon. And now he was gone? I still had trouble believing it was true.

As I talked with a friend at lunch today about Tom's death, we both shared a sentiment of confusion toward God. I mean, why would He take Tom now, when he seemed to be so productive for the Kingdom? He was so devoted to God's work, leading Bible studies out of his home three nights a week. Pouring his heart into the countless men he discipled. He was such a loving husband and father (and grandfather!). And even served as a father figure to so many who were without their own earthly father.

I guess in times like these I'm not expected to understand or have all the answers. I'm thankful that I can come before you, God, a little confused and deeply saddened at the loss of a friend. I acknowledge, Lord, that you are still good even in the midst of this. You are still in control and you give us your peace "at all times and in every way." (2 Thess. 3:16)

It's interesting that I've been learning about peace this week in my Bible study. Beth Moore says that, "Peace comes in situations completely surrendered to the sovereign authority of Christ." Help me, Lord, to surrender my hurt and sense of loss over to your sovereign and perfect authority. Please keep us "in perfect peace as our mind is steadfast, trusting in you." (Isaiah 26:3) And thank you for allowing me to know you more deeply by knowing your faithful servant Tom Bailey.

Services will be held Thursday May 3rd at 1pm at Prestonwood.
The viewing will be Wednesday May 2nd at 7pm at Ridgeview Memorial.

Tom and Brenda faithfully served together at Ichthus Ministries since 1985. Please be praying for Brenda, Brian, Alicia, and their families.

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

i sent you an email. please let me know if you need help with lily.

sim said...

Thank you for posting this. I don't know what else to say.

simri

olivia and henry said...

it's hard to see a picture of him and know that he is not here. it is so comforting to know that tom is with the One whom he proclaimed day in and day out. how awesome to know that tom has heard the words "well done, good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your master."
rejoicing with the angels, but missing tom as well. angie

chavon said...

so sorry again pattersons. love you three and i'll pray for peace. so glad that this is not our home and your friend is enjoying the very salvation he taught and lived out here.

philip said...

So I woke up tonight, in the middle of the night, thinking about this post, and more specifically your question "Why would He take Tom now?"

I believe your question was meant to be rhetorical, but an answer came to mind that I don't think about often enough... Acts 17:25. He doesn't need Tom's help. He doesn't need anyone's help. That's why He took him - because he can. Our God is not served by human hands, even Tom's hands, as though He needed anything.

Now I didn't know Tom, but I know what a loss his death is to so many - how significant he was in so many testimonies. But what his death teaches me, more than anything, is that even the most righteous man, following God with all his might, is only a servant of God, only able to bring God glory by working from God's strength. And while God certainly desires for men like Tom to worship and pursue Him, He doesn't NEED those men to be glorified... God's glory does not hang on the balance of any man's life (apart from Christ's perhaps).

And that inspires worship in me. I worship the one and only God that if every single mortal man stopped worshiping Him, it wouldn't matter. It wouldn't matter. He would still be God, still be glorified.. He doesn't need any of them, nor does He need Tom here on earth. As amazing a man Tom was, God will still be glorified, his purposes will still be accomplished, and that's amazing to me.

That's not to say I don't aspire to be a man like Tom, I do. His death just reminds me how great God is.

Dave said...

Natalie,

I don't know if you remember me. The odds are you probably don't. My name is Dave Frankie, and my younger brother Joey and Josh were, at one time, good friends. I shared this story with your dad when he was down here in Austin for the SoS conference a couple weeks ago (it was awesome seeing him again!), and I'll share it with you and Josh.

After Joey died in 2003, I went through some of Joey's old pictures, and I came across a picture of Tom Bailey baptizing Joey at the old P-wood! It was awesome! It was as if God told me, "Rest. He's here with me now. You'll see him soon."

Dave Frankie