Writer Jonathan Tjarks dies, wife says ‘God is always faithful’

Jonathan Tjarks with his wife, Melissa, and son, Jackson. (Photo courtesy of the Tjarks family via CaringBridge)

Sportswriter Jonathan Tjarks died on Saturday night following a battle with a rare form of cancer called BCOR-CCNB3 sarcoma since April 2021. He was 34.

Jonathan leaves behind his wife, Melissa, and son, Jackson. lemon balm announced his death in the newspaper where she provided updates during Jonathan’s battle. The post is titled ‘Home in paradise’ and she said Jonathan’s last day was spent with his family and two best friends.

“Jon was such a precious gift and I am forever grateful for the years we spent together,” Melissa wrote. “Although God’s timing is not what we hoped for, we are reminded that God is always faithful and good. We have many questions, but God will answer our questions in due time.

Much of the post focuses on how Jonathan loved others – especially his family – until the very end of his life and the undying hope their family has because of their faith in God. Melissa also shared a passage from Ecclesiastes – one of Jonathan’s favorite books of the Bible – which is about God’s perfect timing.

“I know that when Jon met God face to face, he heard a warm ‘bravo, my good and faithful servant,'” Melissa said in the post, referring to Matthew 25:23. “Jon fought cancer so hard, but more importantly, Jon lived his life so well. We are so proud of him, and know God is even prouder. We look forward to seeing him one day in paradise. What a glorious day it will be.

Jonathan worked at The ring, where he primarily covered the NBA. He wrote a play called “The Long Night of the Soul” of his diagnosis and the role his faith played when he was forced to face his own mortality. Outside of his work with The Ringer, Jonathan had a personal blog where he often wrote about the Bible. The most recent post is a detailed summary of the book of Isaiah.

People in the sports media world who knew Jonathan posted tributes on social media and shared what he meant to them.

Jonathan joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast in October 2021. During the interview, he talked about how his faith was being tested and the comfort it brought him despite everything he was going through. He likened the fundamentals of the Christian faith to a playbook for a sports team. Believing that God is good when all is well is one thing. Continuing to trust God in the midst of such difficult circumstances is a whole different kind of challenge.

“It’s almost like these are things that were given to you as a playbook for when your life gets tough,” he said on the podcast. “But when it actually happens, you actually have to follow the coins, right? Because you don’t want to at that time. You don’t want it at all.

Details regarding a celebration of Jonathan’s life are still being finalized. Gifts to his family can be made by their GoFundMe account. Please join us in praying for the Tjarks family.

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