“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
-1 Corinthians 10:31
(Author’s note: our friends have gone through an unspeakable tragedy, one that I was there to witness unfold before my very eyes. This is not written in any way to take a focus off of them, or to take focus away from Jesus, who is ultimately glorified throughout this entire situation. Writing is often my way of processing things that I have been through, things that I have experienced).
This past week has been a long and difficult week for many. And for many, far more difficult and painful than for myself. Here is my story…
It began on Monday, with a text from a friend who had some paperwork that needed to be picked up. My family and I were going to be heading towards where she and her family lived later that day, so, I texted saying we would stop by and pick it up. Later, we confirmed a time, and she said any time after 3:00pm.
We were driving down the street her family lives on, and there were cars stopped. I couldn’t see what was ahead, and said “What are we stopping for?” As we were just a few scores of yards from our destination. “Oh my god, there’s a child on the road!” gasped Roni, my wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat of our van, with our children unaware in the back seat.
Thus begins the seemingly endless nightmare…
I pulled off onto the side of the road, put the van in park, and got out and raced towards the scene, seeing our friend rush out to find her youngest child laying in the road. Still. Quiet. Almost peaceful, yet inexplicably agonizing. A stranger was there, with his body over the young child, in what looked like an instinctively protective pose, wanting to make sure no one came and tried to move him. His mom, our friend, took over, speaking to her child. Loving on her child. Praying, no, crying out to Jesus from the pits, the depths of her being.
The next couple of hours was a blur of activity. Police officers, Paramedics, EMTs, Pastors, the Medivac Flight Crew, any many more. Many worked on the young child. Many sought to serve the family. Prayers were cried out. Children were corralled into the home. Phone calls, texts, emails were made towards filling the heavens with entreaties for this young child.
“He has a heart-beat, and we are helping him breath,” stated one of the paramedics as they loaded him on a stretcher and into the back of the ambulance while they awaited the helicopter that eventually took him to a hospital some ways away.
And with that, he was whisked away into the heavens by helicopter, with his parents in tow on the ground, driven by the local law enforcement.
My family and I lingered for a while, to make sure the rest of our friend’s children were being taken care of by family and friend, as we were a ways from our home. They were cared for, they were loved.
Finally, my family and I continued our journey for that day, having a small bit of family time out before returning to our home.
That evening, and for the next few days, in my mind’s eye flashed over and over the things that I witnessed that day. Such difficult things. Such loving things. Such pain and agony. Such love and caring. This time has been difficult and hard. Many tears have I shed.
I praise the Lord that I was able to be there with my family, providentially timed to be there at the right moment. I praise God that I was able to pray with my friend and her family. That my wife was able to help with the children to keep them from having to see the unimaginable. I praise God knowing that He is sovereign, despite our inability to see beyond our own pain and suffering.
And then, something strange happened to me. People that are close to me began to minister to me. Almost immediately after we got home, close friends called to check in on me, wanting to make sure I was okay. My boss. My pastors. My friends. When this time began, I thought I would be the one God used to help a friend. And I’m sure I was able to help that friend. However, never did I imagine that my friends, as well as the grieving family who lost their son, would help and minister to me.
Fast forward a few days to today, Friday, August 12, 2016. This morning, we, and I mean the family, my family, and so many hundreds of others, gathered to celebrate the life, regardless of how short it was, of the young child that was struck by a vehicle only days earlier. The family is loving on the young man driving the fateful vehicle that hit their son, wanting him to sit with them at the Celebration of Life. The family taking food to the first responders who responded to the accident. The calls for the gospel being shared at the Celebration of Life, and how God is using such a tragic even that was allowed to happen to change lives, to change hearts, to enlarge His Kingdom.
Our friend told me today that she was praying that those images form Monday would leave my mind, that I wouldn’t have to see them anymore. They are, albeit slowly. I see them less and less. But, in the long run, I know that God has been glorified not only through this young boy’s life, but also through his death, and people have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
And with each day, with each passing thought about what happened this week, what Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth comes to mind, and it is something that is for all who were involved; for all who were affected; for all who have lived through this longest week:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–7, ESV)
While many hurt and agonize, God will heal. Healing takes time, maybe even a life time, but, God is faithful. God will be there.
Soli Deo Gloria.