By Dana Barber
Member Care Specialist, CBOQ
Sitting in the back row of seats in a sanctuary full of chattering, laughing people, I was blessed to have a few moments to talk with Jarvis Jacobs. Jarvis has been a member at Mississauga City Baptist Church for 10 years where he currently serves as an elder. But why is having a few moments of his time such a blessing?
I asked how and when Jarvis first came to know Jesus; this is what he said, “My family was always in church, and my parents did not challenge me too much.” With a large grin, he proceeded, “It was my elder sisters that challenged—really challenged—me to know Jesus, so I made a decision when I was in elementary school, about 10 years old.” Since Jarvis was baptized at 18, he has fully relied on God for the choices he makes in his life. Jarvis joyfully, and boldly, states that growing up he was always sure that Jesus was his Saviour; all along he has depended on God’s providence for everything, especially choosing his life partner and education. Jarvis and his amazing wife Helen have been married for 32 years, so far.
But life is not without its struggles, and in 2017, Jarvis was diagnosed with cancer of the liver. The diagnosis was a shock. He had just graduated from Tyndale with his Master’s degree and was eager to be used in greater ways by God. This graduation was, he thought, going to bring a time to dive deeper into ministry. But instead of leaping into ministry, Jarvis found himself hospitalized for quite some time. There were many moments that both the doctors and Jarvis thought he wouldn’t make it because his condition was so advanced. Even so, his dependence on Christ did not waiver. The prayers of his church family went up with determination to see Jarvis healed. The darkest days renewed his trust and hope in the Lord.
Jarvis still has cancer. Instead of being in a hospital bed, this Sunday he served communion to the same church family that continues to pray for his healing. Jarvis believes that medication, God’s grace and provision and his ability to rely fully on Christ is what sustains him. “Christ tells me that I still have a contribution to make, even for one day. And life is testament to God’s goodness! I am here because of prayer and the generosity of God.”
Before the cancer, even though he always relied on Christ, he took certain things for granted. Not now! He looks forward to being involved in life. He sees that his experience has brought him closer to Christ.
I asked Jarvis, “When you think about Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life, and you consider what he is bringing you through, what would you like to say to others?” He replied, “The lesson I would remind others is this; we live by the grace of God in our daily lives. There were situations in my daily life I took for granted because I am secure that Christ is on my side. Now, when I get up in the morning and I am thinking about what I need to achieve, I remember I may never return to this bed; it is by God’s grace. I do not take daily life for granted anymore and it has brought me closer to Christ.”