Requiem For a Giant


Lisa and I learned an unforgettable lesson about faith heroes a while back, and it was Warren Judd who taught us.

At the very beginning of my friend’s ordeal, we visited Warren on the 9th floor of Loma Linda Medical Center. I was touched by his absolute serenity; he described his attacking cancer as a rare type and I remember that he calmly used the word “terminal.” There were no histrionics, no complaining. He was cheerful and thanked us for coming.

My heart in my throat, I offered to say a prayer with him, and I still recall his grateful smile. I was emotional, and what I said came out in clumsy bits and pieces, but it was something along these lines as I try to reconstruct it six months later.

“Lord, we obviously pray for healing. You know how much all of Warren’s friends cherish him. But even more, we just pray for Warren and Jan to feel Your presence. Be alive in their lives; above all, allow Warren’s faith and courage to inspire others. Glorify Your own name through how Warren’s family responds to this journey through the dark valley ahead. No matter how this story unfolds, I know that Warren and all of us who appreciate him will ceaselessly praise and thank You for Your grace.”

Despite my fumbling words, I wish each of you who love Warren could have been in that hospital room. As I prayed, Warren kept murmuring: “Yes, Jesus. Of course. Thank You, Jesus. Amen, Lord. We just love You, Jesus.” In my moment of great weakness, Warren was strong and absolutely fearless.

I look back, now that Warren’s battle is blessedly concluded, and realize how magnificently God honored his response that evening. My testimony to all of you is this: in my sixty years of being a believer, I have never prayed more than in these past six months. I’ve never been more aware of how desperately we all need Jesus and only Him. (As Tony Evans describes his moment facing Judgment Day: “Jesus, I’ve asked You to forgive me and save me. And Jesus, YOU ARE ALL I HAVE!”) That evening with Warren reminded me that honoring Christ by fully trusting Him – unto death if need be – is the highest calling we ever have. Who has ever done this in a finer way than the Judd family?

When Cassie Bernall, senior at Columbine High School, faced down her killers in the cafeteria, one of them put his gun to her head, then sneered: “So are you a Christian?” “Yes, I am,” she replied without hesitation. The story of her courageous martyrdom flashed around the world, and I thought later: “If the Holy Spirit can use any of us to perhaps die for our Lord in a way that inspires millions, well, that would be a noble opportunity.” Thanks to all of you – Jan and Marc and Shani and the entire body of Christ, this great cloud of believers – who have used this Facebook page to multiply Warren’s closing moments of witness.

So we said goodbye to Warren that night; Lisa put her arm around me as we went out to the elevators, where I promptly burst into tears. Because I had been standing on holy ground . . .



About David B. Smith

I'm a math professor at San Bernardino Valley College - awesome place! - and author of adult Christian fiction. Lisa and I have two grown daughters and four grandkids.
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