Goshen Professional Firefighters Local ·
With a matter of fact tone he told the doctor, “You don’t know how many days I have left. There is only one person who knows how many days that I have on this earth. He knew when my last day was before my first day started.”
This was a statement from Chaplain Jim Shrock during one of our Tuesday morning Bible study sessions. It was part of a story he relayed while talking about all the treatments he had endured and how many times a doctor said, “This treatment will give you ‘X’ more months.” He wasn’t upset. He wasn’t dejected. He wasn’t sad. He was resolute in his faith that God had a plan for him well beyond his or any physician’s understanding. It was a steadfast faith that he displayed with grace during times when many in his situation would have abandoned their faith and hope. It was a faith that gave him the strength to carry his family, his friends, his church, his police officers and his firefighters through not only his illness but the dark times in our lives as well.
To look at Chaplain Jim I doubt the people he cared for who had just lost a home, a child, a spouse, or other loved one knew just how very sick he was. He never wavered in his faith or his belief in service to others. Chaplain Jim was a mountain of a man. Not in stature but in presence. He could take over a room and bring comfort to those in need. He could also just sit quietly and listen as someone talked or vented about a situation that would pale in comparison to his own struggles. This was who he was, a man so dedicated to service that not even cancer would stop him.
On February 23, 2022, Chaplain Jim passed away after his struggle with cancer. While he will be missing from the sight of our eyes he will always be within our hearts. Our lives will not be the same without you, but they are better because you were in them.
Personally, I take solace in the knowledge that he is with his maker. I know that, in paraphrasing John Gillespie Magee, Jr, he ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth, put out his hand and touched the face of God’. Then I am sure his very next words were, “What would you have me do for you Father? Who can I help next?”
Chaplain Jim, we love you, we miss you, we mourn you, we are happy for you and we look forward to seeing you again.