The Faith of Jonathan Tjarks (1987-2022)
How sportswriter Tjarks’ story has inspired so many people amid his terminal illness and death on Saturday, September 10th
Courtesy: Tjarks Family
“I wish I could say that getting diagnosed with cancer has brought me closer to God. That my faith is stronger than ever before and that it has comforted me through these tough times. I have read plenty of stories like that. But that’s not really how it has worked for me.
I want to believe in a miracle. There have been people with stage IV sarcomas whose tumors never came back. No one knows why. Some things are still beyond the knowledge of medical science. I asked my doctor if I could be one of those people. He replied, ‘I am not the one who decides those things.’
I believe in a God who does. But I also know that He has chosen not to heal me. At least not yet. And that hurts.”
- Jonathan Tjarks in “Does my son know you”?
Why do bad things happen to good people?
If I'm honest, that is a question I think about often and still struggle to answer.
That's the case with Jonathan Tjarks who passed away on Saturday after a long battle with cancer.
Jonathan Tjarks’ day job was as a staff writer at the Ringer.
For those who don't know much about sports or even journalism, the Ringer is one of the country's most profitable digital media companies.
It was started by Bill Simmons after he left ESPN.
It was then sold to Spotify for almost 200 million dollars in 2020. Needless to say, it’s a very influential company in which almost any and every sports journalist would love to work.
However, that job did not define him. His most important job was being a dad to his son and a husband to his wife.
In 2021, Tjarks was diagnosed with cancer so rare that the odds of getting it was one in twenty-five million.
In talking about this, Tjarks, who lived in Dallas, said that it was never a good thing when you have to travel to another city to see a specialist.
If that were me, I would be throwing a pity party.
That’s not what Tjarks did. As seen above, he’s written about it extensively.
When his boss, Bill Simmons, asked him why he was so open about his journey on his podcast in April, Tjarks mentioned one thing: his faith in Jesus.
Here is a guy with a terminal illness and only months left to live talking about the gospel and his faith journey on one of the largest podcasts in the country.
Still, even then, it was hard. Much like Jesus before he was crucified, I’m sure Tjarks asked God if there was any other way he could live. Unfortunately, that was not His plan.
Jon, I am not sure I’ve told anyone this, but your column which was published in March was one of the main reasons this prodigal son returned home to Texas. Thank you for using your platform during these past couple of years to invest in me. I promise I will be there for your son even if it’s in thoughts and prayers and small donations to the GoFundMe. Go Mavs.
Here is the gofundme to support Jon’s wife and son. Please consider donating even five dollars, and if you're religious, keep his family and friends in your prayers.
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