August 8th, 2016

August 8th, 2016 will forever be a day seared into my memory. A day that I will never forget, even if I were to try. Normally, on this day, I repost a slightly updated version of the same post (last year’s can be found (HERE), but this year, I am going to reflect a bit.

Pulling Up…

I will never forget pulling up behind a short line of cars, I think we were the fourth car back. I swerved to the side a little to see what was going on, and the words quickly came out of my wife’s mouth, “Oh my God! There’s a child on the road!” As I pulled off into the grass, I began thinking “Please don’t be Sawyer, please don’t be Sawyer.” Shortly after I got out of the car and I quickly made my way over, I arrived at the same time as Sawyer’s mother, distraught at the sight of her precious little boy looking all but lifeless on the ground…

A Blur….

The next several hours were a blur. I had been on my way to see Summer for some paperwork for work, then was going to head off somewhere with my family for a short trip. That all went out of the window. But who cared. I was there, and I believe it was Providentially so. It was the beginning of August, just shy of two months after graduating seminary. None of what I learned in class could have ever prepared me for what was to come…

I Learned More In Four Hours Than I Did In Two Years At Seminary

While out there, on the street, in the home, God allowed me glimpses into the lives of people at their absolute worst moments of their lives. The pain, the grief…everything. The one major lesson that I learned that day, one that I never learned in seminary or read in a book (I have since then), is that the best thing you can sometimes do is just be there…and be quiet. Paul writes for us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Much easier said than done.

Rejoice Always…

I look back upon that day and can now rejoice that God used me during that time. God knew that I needed to be there and orchestrated it that it would be so. I rejoice knowing that the family is a family of strong disciples of Christ and that they rested upon Him during this time. I rejoice at how they are living out 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, helping and ministering to those who are going through similar circumstances.

Pray Without Ceasing…

Up until that day, I cannot think of a time when I had prayed with such fervor, speed, and length. There are going to be times in our lives when all you can do is pray, so pray you must, and do so without ceasing. Live your life with an attitude of prayer, for God hears the prayers of His children, and the prayer of a righteous person has great power (James 5:16).

Give Thanks In All Circumstances…

How do you give thanks in such a circumstance as this? The image of Sawyer laying there, in the middle of the road is one that will never fully go away from my mind, despite how much I want it to. I am glad for that. It reminds me that we aren’t guaranteed any amount of time on this earth, so we need to make the most of it and, as a Christian, tell people about Jesus. I give thanks that, just a few days after Sawyer’s death, people professed faith in Jesus Christ at his celebration of life! Lives have been eternally impacted by such a horrific event.

Why This, Why Now?

I am typing these words because when August comes, for the past three years, I have not been able to sleep well, and this helps. Writing helps. Praying helps. Worshipping my God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…helps.