Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Tallest Man I Ever Knew

I will never forget the first time I saw Max Palmer. He wasn’t just "big" he was HUGE! He had to stoop down to walk in a normal double doorway. Little did I know that after being introduced to him we would strike up a friendship that would last for many years.

I soon discovered that if Max sat in a church pew and I stood beside him we were the same size! Shoulder to shoulder my middle finger was two inches short of his elbow. When he stood up my head came to his waist and when I would put on his sport coat the side pockets would lay flat on the floor. I could slide his ring over three of my fingers and his shoes were longer than two of mine. At nearly 8 feet tall, weighing over 450 pounds Max was the biggest man I had ever seen or known.

His car had no front seat and to ride with him was an introduction into how much carpet they actually put in automobiles. The first time we had a meal together (something he did every two hours or so) I had a two piece chicken dinner and he ordered a bucket.

Not only was Max big but he had a great sense of humor. Occasionally when he would need a ride somewhere I would take him in an old pick-up. I would move the seat all the way back and put five or six pillows behind me so I could reach the pedals. That would leave Max enough room to get his legs in with his knees sticking up above the dashboard. Often at stoplights he would have the window down and reach out and pat the top of the car beside us. The first reaction of many drivers was to either run the light or just sit there and scream. Max loved it and never seemed to tire of ways to surprise people.

Growing up wasn’t easy for him. He was always the tallest kid and was picked on by most people in the Mississippi town where he grew up. His adult life was dominated by jobs that took him from Hollywood to professional wrestling. Max handled his fame by drinking and by his late 30’s it had begun to take a toll on his body which finally resulted in a hospital stay for a very sick giant. Tired of years of being teased and taken advantage of, Max had become depressed which had made him drink even more. Life at this point had little meaning or purpose.

A local pastor was visiting a church member one day when a hospital staffer told him about Max. The pastor stopped by for a visit and for the first time in his life Max heard the story of Jesus who loved him so much He went to the cross to die for him. Not long after that he made the life changing decision to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Once out of the hospital Max began to attend church and was asked to share his story. That opportunity opened a door for the giant to travel all over the country and share what God had done for him. In the years that followed he became known as "Goliath for Christ"!

Although you may never have known a real giant like Max most of us during our lifetime are confronted with giants. We know their names. They have names like: disease, divorce, family problems, finances, economy, heartache, and job loss to mention a few. They are big and frightening as they rob us of joy and hope. Once you have encountered a few of these giants you are often wounded and don’t know where to turn. Your days are empty and the nights are long as you seek answers to giants you never knew you would meet. You look for answers and seem to find none and have wondered if there is any hope. Take heart, there is!

Max found the answer that day in his hospital room when he heard the God's wonderful plan of salvation. Perhaps you're at a crossroads in your life and see no hope and no way out. Your burden is too heavy and there appears to be no rest available. If this all sounds painfull familiar than you need to know what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I hope you'll join Max and so many of us who have found the answer for life and eternity.

Next post I'll share more of the story of the tallest man I ever knew.

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