“. . . rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:4
Several years ago I was introduced to a couple named Jim and Mimi as a potential buyer of their business. The business, once a successful enterprise, was on the brink of failure due primarily to some unfortunate circumstances involving Mimi’s rapidly declining health. They were in desperate need of someone to take it over, and on the surface it appeared to me the business might have some possibilities, therefore worth exploring as an investment.
For weeks I worked side by side with Jim, often long hours, simply trying to keep the doors open long enough for me to complete my due diligence. Jim focused on sales while both of us negotiated with clients, vendors, creditors, and employees. It was a tense time, but especially for Jim and Mimi who were on the verge of losing everything they had. Yet, throughout the entire ordeal Jim remained cheerful and never lost hope.
We developed a special bond, Jim and I, and I found myself desperately wanting it to all work out so he and Mimi might somehow salvage their financial lives. Jim obviously wanted that too, but only if it proved to be a sound business opportunity for me. The end result was that the business was just too far gone and no transaction ever occurred. My heart broke for Jim and his wife Mimi and the circumstances they faced, but Jim didn’t see it that way. No, even in those darkest of times he wasted no time on self-pity, but continued to maintain an amazing sense of hope. . . . Soon we lost touch.
. . . . Until one cold winter day several months later my cell phone rang. It was Jim calling to check on me. Imagine that, calling to check on me! Here was a man who had lost everything, living with relatives because he and Mimi could not afford their own place, trying to pick up the pieces and start over. Yet in his voice I could still hear that never-ending hope. Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Jim taught me that. I’ve never heard from him again since that day, but I think of him often and pray that he and Mimi managed to get back on their feet.