Well, this is a day for tears. I don’t know Tim intimately, but he is a friend, and his presence in my life has been a great gift. When I look back through Tim’s emails to me over the years, the thread that runs through them is encouragement. The last words of his last email to me: “Main thing I wanted to say is how much I appreciate all you are doing.”

The main thing Tim wanted to say was always about someone other than himself: his mind seemed always to be focused on his family, his friends, those he pastored and mentored, and above all the God who is known to us in Jesus Christ. The criticism he received — almost all of it irrational and misinformed — slightly bemused him but otherwise left him unaffected; he had more important things to think about than his own reputation. 

In one of his last books he wrote of 

Christianity’s unsurpassed offers — a meaning that suffering cannot remove, a satisfaction not based on circumstances, a freedom that does not hurt but rather enhances love, an identity that does not crush you or exclude others, a moral compass that does not turn you into an oppressor, and a hope that can face anything, even death. 

All I can say is Amen to that. 

Above I spoke of my friendship with Tim in the present tense, for a good reason. I don’t know Tim intimately; but I hope to some day. Until then, I will miss him very much.