I, Jason Robinson of Kent, Ohio, write this note today with great heaviness in my heart. While I grieve the loss of a close friend, I am in a conflict within my mind. I do not desire to negatively affect the thoughts others may have of my dear friend, Spencer Pitcher; however, I strongly believe that Spencer would, without a doubt, want me to share his story so others can benefit from this tragedy. Please keep that in mind as I tell you a short true story.
I have known Spencer for a little over 2 years. As I reflect back upon the last 760 days, this is what I remember. I find myself being woken up by the Lord the morning of about March 20th, 2009. I am having a vision of a young man who is being drawn to the Father. He is sitting in a dead, boring church, with no one to love him and be a spiritual father to him. In my vision, my heart breaks for this young soul who seems to be getting drawn to the Father. I remember praying, "Father, I am available for him. If you see fit, help me to cross his path." Just a few days later, roughly March 29th, 2009, I fly to Jacksonville, Florida. Through a series of strange events, I meet the young man I had prayed for just a few days earlier. His name is Spencer Pitcher. He is at a pivotal moment in his life. He is defeated by drug addiction, lust, and independence. He has no idea that he only has 760 days left to live. Looking back, I realize that I also had no idea he would only have 760 more days to live on this earth. However, the God of this universe knew because He is the only one who gives life and takes it away according to His own wisdom.
Within hours of meeting this young man, I warn him of "sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come." These words of Jesus are found in John 16:8. He starts to break, and he recognizes his need for Jesus. Over the next few days, he repents and puts his faith in Christ. He begins to show fruits of repentance. The love of God fills his heart. He now has hope for the future. He asks me to baptize him. We find a river, invite his friends and family, and I baptize him there. A few days later he packs his bags and moves from Florida to Missouri (where I was living at the time). He now has a new home, a new life, and new friends who love Jesus and that are willing to do anything to help this young man get to know the Creator of this universe.
There is an initial season of excitement, joy, and hunger for God's Word. It is called first love" in the Bible. He goes out on the streets with me to preach to others the wonderful truths of Christ that he had recently found. He feels a call in his life to share his testimony with others. He travels with me to visit a drug rehab to help me reach others. At this point, everythings looking good. But remember, the Father knows he only has 700 or so days to live now.
We help him find a job in a nearby town. With this new job come new temptations that he had not yet had to deal with since his conversion to Christ. He meets "friends" who claim to love Jesus but whose lives would say otherwise. These new "friends are "cool", "understanding", and they are offering a life "without rules". He slowly begins to drift away from his first love, allowing these lost souls to influence him back towards his old way of life. Over the next few weeks, the Father, out of mercy and much love, exposes Spencer's sins. Much mercy is given. Many second chances are extended. Hours upon hours of pleading, warning, praying, and loving correction are given in an attempt to turn him from the error of his way. The Father knows he now has only 650 days to live.
The Father extends even more mercy to Spencer by allowing him to get in trouble with the law. His newly-found, sin-loving "friends", turn against him. And now evil men are looking for him, wanting to harm him. He is left with no where else to go. Through a supernatural event, I cross his path again, on my way to Colorado. He decides to come with me and experiences an amazing week of preaching, singing, prayer, and fellowship with people who love Jesus. God is extending so much mercy to him, knowing that he now only has 570 days left on this earth.
He begins to repent and turn back to Christ. He desires help with his addiction. He returns to live with us and start all over again. Within 3 weeks, the Father exposes his sin again. He recognizes this as the Fathers mercy and agrees to enter a drug rehab. He will spend the next 3 weeks there trying to start over again. Unfortunately, his stubbornness raises its ugly head again, Another second chance is given to him. God directs me to move to Ohio, and I agree to give him a place to stay on my property there. I buy him a van and help him with employment. Over the next few weeks, multiple opportunities to repent are extended to him, but they are all resisted and spurned at. He refuses to repent, and so he is told he must leave. It breaks my heart to do this because I loved him like a son. All I wanted was for him to know the Creator and live a life of joy. All of this is breaking God's heart also, for the very same reasons.
He moves back to Florida, and within a few days, is back to his old lifestyle. The Father knows he now has only 360 days left- less than one year. In His mercy, He allows Spencer to be sent to jail in Missouri, and we travel to the jail and visit him. Multiple brothers in Christ reach out to him to offer him another chance. At first, he seems willing to start life over again; however, after hearing the terms of what would have been his living situation, he quickly responds with anger. He still wants total freedom to do things his own way, when and how he wants to do it". He is still "wise in his own eyes" as Proverbs 26:12 says. He finds a way to be released early and moves to South Dakota.
The Father knows he now has less than 300 days to live. I have numerous brief interactions with him over the next 290 days. Time and time again he is warned to repent. With time running out, it appears that he finally sees his need to come back to the Lord. He contacts me and asks if he can move back to Ohio. He wants to be in a church where he can have discipleship. He agrees to having some accountability in his life. On Wednesday April 26th I agree to provide him a place to stay and partial employment until he gets on his feet. He is trying to set a date for the move to be on Wednesday May 4th, but I am sensing it needs to be sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, he doesn't share the complete truth with me, but keeps his motives hidden to stay on in South Dakota a few days longer.
I text back and forth with him on Saturday Saturday April 30th. The Father knows he now has a mere 12 hours before his soul passes into eternity. Spencer promises me that he will get on a bus if I buy his ticket. His last text to me, less than 11 hours before his death, says "we are golden for May 4th." A few hours after midnight, he is found dead. At this point, only the Father really knows what happened to him.
Spencer would want us to learn from all of these examples. Let us look at our own life in the hour of mourning. Let us look in the mirror.
The point of all of this is that we never know how many days we have left in this life. We never know how many days others have left either. However, the God who gives life and takes it away, does. In His mercy he gives a certain amount of opportunities to each individual. He longs to give mercy, but His mercy eventually has an end. This is made clear in Jeremiah 16:5. He is a God of love, and because of His love, He must punish sin. May none of us ever take His mercies for granted. The Bible says in Psalm 90:12, "So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom."
What if somehow you knew you only had 760 days left in this life?
How would your priorities change?
How would your value system change?
Would you take sinning against God so lightly?
Would you spend more time getting to know your Creator?
Would you spend more time reading the words of Jesus?
Would you spend more time telling others about Jesus?
Would you be more bold in warning others of the coming Day of Judgement?
All of life is made up of choices. Every minute of the day you are making choices. The choices you make in this life will carry over FOREVER in the next life. "Choose you this day whom you will serve." Joshua 24:15
"Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened." Acts 5:11
"Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!" Matthew 11:15