I’m writing in much sadness today. Late last night I heard of the passing of my favorite Christian radio voice of all time … Tom Dooley. He passed away from brain cancer just two nights ago.
I came upon Tom Dooley and his radio show quite by accident. It was 11pm and my husband had fallen asleep. I was restless, as I often am, and decided to put my headphones on and see what the Christian stations were playing. This voice, a wonderful voice calls out, “Hello, welcome dearly beloved of God…” and he began one of the most interesting shows I’ve ever heard. He called it ‘The Journey’. He said it was a discipleship ministry of words and music together (forgive me if that’s not worded exactly as he spoke it). He always had a theme, the most recent one being ‘The Fear of Man’ and he would mix it with songs from great Christian artists as well as scriptures. He would talk, really talk like you were walking along a path having a conversation with him. It was wonderful and I listened faithfully every night it played.
During his show, he often talked about the One Year Audio Bible. One morning when I awoke, I decided to check out his web site. While I wasn’t able to purchase the great MP3 player that contained 90 hours of the New Living Translation Bible narrated by Tom, you could put a widget on a web site and so I did. Every morning during my coffee I would click on the link to the audio Bible and listen to him read from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and a Proverbs. Wait! That’s not all he had. There was a daily devotional morning and evening prayer. I started listening to that as well, every morning and evening. I came to find out that he was reading from a daily devotional book that was actually written in 1949 yet the prayers were as relevant today as they were back then.
What makes all of his ministry so special to me is my inability to really read and concentrate on the Bible due to medications that I take for my illness. I’ve prayed about this and talked to my Lord and He is such a good God that this is what He blessed me with. Tom Dooleys voice … a voice that was a gift from God, for Tom and for hundreds of thousands of people, and for me. I wrote him just one week ago to tell him how important his ministry was to me. I got a very nice reply from the broadcasting company but didn’t think anything of it as I’m sure he’s a busy man.
Last night, at my usual time, just minutes before 11pm I slipped on my headphones. Something was off because the local radio host was speaking and he was speaking about Tom Dooley. He was speaking about him in the PAST tense. Then he shared that he had passed away and would be truly missed. I could hardly hear or remember what else was said because of my tears. I went to his web site today to find out that he had finally passed after a short illness with brain cancer.
I want to be honest here. At first I felt anger. Not anger at God but angry that this all important ministry was now lost to me. What would I do? That was quickly dissipated when sorrow took hold of my heart and his wonderful voice kept echoing through my mind, “Hello, welcome dearly beloved of God… “. As I listened to music that played in place of his voice and his words of wisdom, I wept quietly and prayed for his family. I need not pray for Tom for he is with our Lord and Savior in heaven. He always said on his show he had the best job in the world. I can believe it because it emanated from his voice and you could tell he was happy doing what God called him to do.
Thank you, Tom Dooley. Thank you for your obedience to our Lord, to your sacrifices made, to the ministry to others and especially, for using your gift to touch so many lives. Your gift … a voice from God.