Yesterday, on February 12, 2012, Whitney Houston died. She was known and adored by millions. Today, February 13, 2012, Bobby Knight died. He may have been known only by hundreds. Other than both of them expressing faith in Jesus, their lives could not have been more different.
Bobby was 52 when he passed. He was mentally and physically handicapped. He was strong enough to ride his full sized three wheel bike all over Napa, and he could often be seen pedaling around town.
During Christmas season, Bobby would decorate his three wheel bike, and ride around town. His portable stereo would play Christmas carols, and he was a frequent entry in Christmas and seasonal parades, sometimes receiving recognition and awards for his creativity.
Bobby often called our church office, or would come by. Sometimes he would be asking for financial help, but usually he had spiritual questions. He listened to a lot of Christian radio and watched a lot of Christian T.V. He often asked us about “last days” events, and why there was so much turmoil in the world. The conversations were very repetitive. Sometimes we didn’t have a lot of time to talk to Bobby, but most of the time we did. We were always willing to talk to him. Sometimes we couldn’t, because he was relentless in asking Biblical questions and required a lot of time, but I never regretted one conversation I had with him. It was always “real”, and there was no guile at all in Bobby’s heart. He was seriously concerned with evil in the world, as constantly asked if we were getting closer to the return of Jesus.
We shared Biblical truth with him as much as we could. He carried around a notebook, or papers, with key Biblical phrases and verses. It would help him remember what questions to ask.
Bobby really struggled with understanding the violence in Israel, and around the world. He just could not understand why people treated each other so terribly. It really upset him. Bobby had a tremendously tender heart.
This last Christmas, Bobby watched our Christmas service on TV. He loved the music so much that he made a special trip to the church to ask for a dvd of the music. I am glad to have been able to burn that dvd for him. He was thrilled.
Every conversation would end with Bobby saying the same thing: “I love Jesus, I really do. And I love you guys, and I am praying for you.” I never doubted once that Bobby loved me, and that he had been praying for me.
I know that Bobby must have had a number of people helping him. People who made special clothes to fit him. People who rented a place to him. I know he had a social worker. His brother Richard also helped care for him.
I extend condolences to all who are saddened by Bobby’s passing, and I say thank you for helping Bobby make it in this world. He could not have done it alone.
Bobby had the faith of a child. That was the only kind of faith he could have. His mental capacities were limited. His body was limited. But his heart and faith were huge. I have no doubt, but that Bobby is now wonderfully, comfortably, and fearlessly in the presence of Jesus.
Editor’s Note- Plans for a memorial service are pending. I will post here and on facebook when plans are finalized.