. Not many people know that Tim Lahaye was my friend. A personal friend. When he died on July 25 it brought great sadness to me and Laura. He as a spiritual giant, best known for his “Left Behind” books, which sold 65 million copies. I remember about a year before he wrote the first “Left Behind” book that Tim asked my opinion about writing a series of fictional novels based on the rapture. It was right after we’d spent a long day of Colorado skiing together. Since I had just published a couple of ground-breaking, best-selling fictional novels, Tim valued my opinion. He wondered if I knew a fiction writer I could recommend to work with him. I was too cautious to suggest myself, so Jerry Jenkins got the job and they both became millionaires. Jenkins is certainly a better fictional writer than me, but I have to wonder, “What if . . . “That was one of many times that we schussed the slopes together. I’ll never forget a cold February week that Tim stayed in our home. One morning we bundled up and skied in 15-degree BELOW zero weather. We were so busy on the lift talking about our mutual interest in politics and the Bible that we forgot the cold. We were glad to finally get back to the house where Laura had hot chocolate waiting for us. I also remember the three-hour drive to the Denver airport when he left, precious hours of having one of the greatest men of God of our generation all to myself to pick his brain. And I’ll never forget that as a fledgling young writer he introduced me to my first major publisher. Thirty-five books later, I have Tim LaHaye to thank for my own writing career which has touched millions of lives.
Mostly I remember the times after skiing together when we’d gather by the fireplace to pray. On one particular occasion I shared with him some difficult challenges I was facing. He and I and Laura knelt together and poured our hearts out to God. It was turning point in my life. But I most of all appreciated his friendship when so many evangelicals persecuted me (and still do) for my stand on spiritual warfare. That’s not to say that Tim agreed with all my theology, but he did respect God’s hand upon my life and encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. I focused on battling spiritual oppression, and he was a fundamentalist pastor. But we weren’t really that much of an odd couple when it came to loving souls and wanting people to have more of Jesus. In later years, his heart gave out and my knees were replaced, ending our sweet time of fellowship on the ski slopes. Now, two of my daughters, students at Liberty University, have enjoyed the $4.5 million student center he built for that great school.
To many, he’s the man whose books affected millions and whose theology gave an entire generation the eschatological hope of Christ’s Return. But to me, he was a ski-buddy, a humble man without pretense, and one of the dearest friends I’ve had. I’m just sorry that he missed the Rapture that he longed for.
An encouraging word: JESUS CAME TO SAVE SINNERS
It is popular in some theologically milquetoast circles to speak admirably of the example Jesus set or his ethic of love FOR everyone. But respect for His words or the life He lived means nothing when we consider eternity. Such platitudes miss the point of His life and death. Paul stated it this way in 1 Timothy 1:15: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinner.” There can be no negation of this declaration of mission. Think what you will of Christ, but never mistake why He came to earth and why He died on the cross. He was more than an ethicist or a prophet. He was the Son of God and He came to die for our sins.
Bob Larson has trained healing and deliverance teams all over the world to set the captives free and Do What Jesus Did® (Luke 4:18). You can partner with Bob and support this vision to demonstrate God’s power in action by calling 303-980-1511 or clicking here to donate online