My father-in-law, Walter Goodall, died this morning at the age of 87 – having lived 32,065 days. Most of you who read this blog haven’t met him but he was a class act in every way. He was hall of fame – literally. Let me tell you just a little bit about him because he’s one likeable guy.
He was quiet, yet warm because his genuine interest in you was clear. He was soft-spoken; yet rock-solid in character. He was humble, yet super-smart and talented. He raised three really fine daughters, one of whom he entrusted to me nearly 32 years ago. He sure made a difference in my life and I told him so plenty of times.
I first met him when I was 19 and he challenged me to a game of H-O-R-S-E on his backyard court. I got waxed. And it was just the first of many on-the-court waxings I endured over the years. I learned to never underestimate the guy because beneath that jovial, gentle exterior beat the heart of a competitor. Like to play ping-pong? My father-in-law was as good as I’ve seen. He would beat you silly at ping-pong and then offer you a bowl of ice cream for consolation.
My father-in-law played to win in basketball, ping-pong, cross-word puzzles and cards. Most importantly, he played to win in the ultimate assignments of life (faith, family, character) as well. “Never underestimate the heart of a champion” and he had a champion’s heart in a big-time way.
What made him tick was his love for Jesus and Jesus’ love for him. He ran a strong race to the finish and his death, because of Jesus, is the crowning moment of a noble life and a doorway to God’s good eternity. My father-in-law was a class act and I was privileged to have a front row seat to the incredible power and enduring imprint of a life well lived.
Revelation 14:13 – Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they shall rest from their labors; and their works will follow them.
Jeremiah 17: 7, 8 – But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.