Last Friday evening a young man (25) in our church family was fatally killed in a snowmobiling accident. His death has shaken many, many people in our community to the core. Monday night his family wanted to have a time for people to gather and share their good memories and love for him. It is not an overstatement to say that what happened was amazing.
Our auditorium has slightly over 130 seats, and every one was filled -with more people standing along the walls. When it was time to begin sharing, it was non-stop for almost an hour. The grieving family, many friends, co-workers, childhood playmates, and many others talked about his huge heart, his giving spirit, and his infectious smile. He was truly loved and will be sorely missed.
Alongside the tears and the pain there was also a sense of joy, as some of those who shared spoke of the young man’s faith in Christ. It was a year and a half ago that he had accepted Christ as his Savior, during his own time of grief over the death of his dad. As our meeting wrapped up, 15 to 20 people came to the front to pray that Christ would come into their lives as He had the young man a year and a half ago.
I’m praying that it was more than emotionalism… I’m praying that the Spirit used their time of pain to bring them true eternal healing.
Amazing. Thursday he was full of life. Friday brought the unexpected hand of death. And Monday new life began for others because of his life and death. It was as if every self-defensive tendency was dropped and every pretension had been demolished. Death has a way of doing that. When death comes crashing into our world, the important questions of life surge to the surface.
Is there a God? Does He care? Who am I? Why am I here? Death brings an unexpected vulnerability to everyone involved – a time of looking deeper, looking toward the future, and looking heavenward with a wishful glance. It causes the living to realize that some day they will be the one in the box at the front of the auditorium. And they want to KNOW that they will be ready when that day comes. That can be an eternally important, but uneasy place to suddenly find yourself.
Thursday will be the official memorial service – almost a week after he died. I’m slated to give the message – and I supsect that many more people will be asking those important questions about life, death, God, and themselves. My prayer is that God will use my words as a pathway through which He can walk unobstructed, into the hearts and minds of many people – changing them forever. Eternity is in view.