In 1992 I was in Hawaii with Chuck Smith. We were there for a Harvest Crusade and all was going well, when we were woken by the news of the approach of a powerful hurricane coming our way. It was Hurricane Iniki.
We were told of massive tsunami waves that were potentially coming our way. I was there with my wife, Cathe, and our youngest son, Jonathan. So, I jumped in my car and went to get food and supplies. Everything at the market was effectively sold out. The only place I could find open was a Subway sandwich shop, where I proceeded to purchase about 20 sandwiches. (I’m not sure what good they would have done, but it’s all I could think of at the moment.)
I returned to where we were staying and knocked on Chuck’s door (his room was next to mine). He was cooking some kind of stew, as I recall, and he was as cool as a cucumber. While everyone else was panicking, Chuck was relaxed, and it just amazed us all.
The local Christian radio station there on Oahu called and asked Chuck to pray, which he did. He confidently reminded people that God was in control and to not worry.
As it turned out, Hurricane Iniki did come toward Oahu, but it took a turn and primarily hit the island of Kauai, where it just so happened they were filming Jurassic Park.
Chuck’s calmness spread to us all and so we took off to the highest point so we could see the massive waves coming, which never did come. So, Chuck and I spent the rest of the day playing tennis (he won).
This to me is a picture of Chuck the man. Calm in the midst of chaos.
A man of faith.
A man who trusted the Lord to do what He wanted to do.
A man who inspired hundreds of young men to go into the ministry.
In my last talk on camera with Chuck (which will be shown at church this Sunday and posted on Monday at harvest.org), I asked him why so many who listened to him teach wanted to teach, themselves. Chuck surmised perhaps it was because “if he could do it, anyone could.”
I told Chuck I thought he was selling himself short as a preacher and reminded him that he had not only given an example in his teaching, but encouraged others to find and use their gifts. He did that for me, Mike Macintosh, Raul Ries, Skip Heitzig, Jeff Johnson, Boy Coy,Joe Focht, Steve Mays, Don McClure, Tom Stipe, , and the list goes on and on.
Chuck will be sorely missed.
In many ways, Chuck was like a lighthouse. A point of reference. A “steady as she goes” kind of person.
Irregardless of what storm was coming.
A mighty storm came Chuck’s way around two years ago called cancer.
He fought to the very end,preaching as recently as last Sunday,though with great difficulty.
And now,he is in the greatest calm and most perfect peace he has ever known.
Chuck is in Heaven.
But Chuck would not want us to make an idol of him. Instead he would point us to Jesus Christ and God’s Word.
I thank God for his ministry, life, and friendship.