How can one claim firm belief in God in the midst of such personal tragedy? How can this highly successful investor claim Jesus as the best investment you’ll ever make? ◊
I heard a very successful businessman today say that he’s had many highs and lows in his career. I heard him say the hardships made him stronger and more resilient. I heard him speak fondly and proudly of his wife of 40 years and his 3 daughters and his multiple grandchildren. I heard him speak of “giving back to the community” with time and resources.
Sounds like the typical profile of a successful life.
Here’s what else I heard.
I heard him say that he made an astute decision to become a Christian, a follower of Jesus, as a student in engineering school in India. I learned that he pursued business, then enrolled in seminary only to be told he had no pastoral gifts and so returned to the world of business. Over the next 27 years he worked as a spectacularly successful venture capitalist in the Silicon Valley.
I then heard him say that just 4 years ago his 27-year-old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer weeks after giving birth to her first child. She died 4 months later surrounded by her husband, infant child, parents and other family members.
I heard that he asked at the time, “God, where are you?”
While not in specific words. I heard him give a very clear answer.
A Silicon Valley Story
This year’s keynote speaker at the annual Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast was Promod Haque, a premier venture capitalist. As Senior Managing Partner of Norwest Venture Partners, his portfolio investments in over 70 companies have had a worth of over $40 billion. He’s been recognized by Forbes as a “Hall of Fame” investor and has made their Midas List 13 times, including 2004, when he was ranked the #1 venture capitalist based on performance over the previous decade.
While possessing this most impressive resume, his personal testimony of his integrated Christian faith, family and business was inspiring and thought-provoking. I came away with 3 key thoughts of note:
- Due Diligence on Christianity and Jesus – Even before becoming a venture capitalist evaluating business and marketplace investments, Promod came to faith in Christ with a math and science mindset and a predilection for conducting thorough due diligence. In addition to studying the Bible Scriptures, he said he read Roman and Jewish history (Josephus) and Christian apologetic books. Like the good VC he would become, he also “checked references” on Jesus by speaking with other Christians about their experiences with Him, as well as studying the eyewitness accounts of the Apostles who lived and walked with Christ and died martyr deaths for their beliefs. Yes, Christianity is indeed a faith of the heart, soul, and of the mind.
- Faith in Christ is the Best Investment Ever – For a man who knows how to evaluate investments, Promod readily admits that a “faith in Christ is the best investment you’ll ever make.” He has seen the highest of returns on the human seeds of investment as he’s notched his portfolio wins and losses. He has seen these companies and their leaders rise and fall, come and go, win and lose, and even maintain high levels of success and monetary gain. But for the one who has seen all this success the world can provide, to summarily conclude that “faith in Christ is the best investment you’ll ever make,” well, that’s pretty telling. All of us, believers and non-believers alike, should take notice and reassess our treasures and priorities.
- Death Eludes No One – Finally, the story about the death of his daughter, Irene, struck me deeply. So young and vibrant and on the heels of such great family joy with the birth of her child. It’s quite understandable for Promod to cry out “God, where are you?” After it was clear that the chemo treatments were not working and that his daughter was dying, she told her father “Stop praying for healing. Now pray for comfort.” And then she said “Dad, it’s okay to die.” He shared that within 6 months of Irene’s death at age 27, his own mother died at age 98. Whether a short life (27 years) on this earth, or a long life (98 years), we all are destined for death. And while death eludes no one, we are assured of a life beyond imagination for an eternity that scarcely can be comprehended. Yet, heaven is promised to us by God who created us and who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
So Where is God?
In his powerful personal testimony today, Promod Haque indirectly answered his own question at the time of his recent family tragedy – “God, where are you?
God is here, God is real, God is manifested in this lost world now found. God is love. God comforts. Due diligence will reveal the truth and reality of God and Jesus Christ. Personal commitment and investment in this spiritual treasure will not rot or fade but prove to be the best investment that can be made. And finally, as death eludes no one, it is okay to die. When we possess that kind of eternal perspective beyond the cares of this world, we hold on to a cherished hope that rings true, lovely, and ever secure.
What are you invested in?
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” – Psalm 39:4-7