This is not my typical post. For those who read my blogs, you know I try to bring levity into just about any situation. But with this post, I just can't seem to find the humor.
When I came into work Friday morning, a co-worker asked if I knew the man who was killed on Highway 42 the afternoon before. The name hadn't yet been released. I hadn’t heard about the accident, but I knew the intersection where it happened. A classmate of Paige's was killed there two years ago. And despite the extra signage put up since, there continues to be accidents there.
At break I checked Facebook. The first newsfeed I saw was from Beth. She and her husband, Andy, are a vibrant young couple who go to our church. They have an adorable daughter who is not yet two and another baby on the way.
"In case you haven't heard, Andy was killed in a car accident this afternoon.”
Stop right there. What? “In case you haven't heard, Andy...” In the split second between reading those few words and what followed, I thought I'd hear, Andy was in an accident, Andy was ill, Andy was, well, anything. Not Andy was killed. Immediately I realized he was the one my co-worker was telling me about.
Her post continued: “A dump truck hit him in the driver's door, an off duty cop saw the accident and immediately began administering CPR. There was nothing they could do and Andy went to be with the Lord. I know he's in a much better place - he was so looking forward to being in Heaven someday..." She finished with sweet words of love to Andy from her, their daughter and baby #2 on the way.
Death is always a shock, whether it is expected or not. Certainly, nobody expected Andy to die that day. You can’t wrap your mind around it. A 31-year-old husband and father who was so loved and needed gone in an instant. You are reminded once again of how brief and fragile this life is.
Andy was full of life, handsome, polite, humble, genuine, a true gentleman. By his words, actions, and countenance, there was no doubt how much he loved God and his family.
I remembered the day he and Beth were baptized in the
Both had become Christians as young adults. I don't remember the exact details
of Andy's testimony. I just remember it was very genuine. This big,
strong guy sharing with tears in his eyes the story of how he became
convicted of his sin and came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Both his
and Beth's testimonies were very moving. We all cheered when they came up out
of the water, grinning and hugging our pastors. Two lives changed for eternity. Zumbro River
We are all rallying around Beth and her sweet babies. There will be terrible grief for a very long time. Life will never be the same again. But there is great peace knowing that Andy was ushered into the presence of the Lord. I think how God called his name not so many years ago in his early 20s. Beyond relief and blessing, his eternal destination was heaven.
In the last years as I’ve grown in middle age, I think of eternity a whole lot more than I used to. It seems everything we do in this life is to distract us from the most important thing, the only thing that is for sure. We are going to die; it’s just a matter of when and how.
I’ve often thought that life is a series of clubs we join. We’re kids. We graduate from high school, enter college and adulthood. We join the married club. The parent club. The empty nester club. The grandparent club. And, if we live long enough, the geriatric club. People tell you what each stage will be like. But you don’t know until you get there.
Death is the last club. But no one can tell us about it. The Bible gives us hints of what it will be like. But how can we possibly know until we get there?
None of us want to think about it. True, we shouldn’t be morbid and dwell on it continually. We have to live our lives. But we need to consider where we’re going when it’s over.
I’m a Christian and totally believe that there is a heaven and a hell. Heaven sounds great. But hell? Terrifying. I wish it weren’t so—the hell part. But there is no denying that Jesus spoke about it. A lot actually. I can’t think of the reality of hell too long or I’d go crazy.
But I do think of it, most often in the middle of the night. I wake up; for some reason it is almost always at 3 a.m., and loved ones who haven’t professed Christ come to mind. The thought of their dying without Christ is crushing.
I struggle. It all seems so wrong. How can there be a hell? Why would God allow anyone to go there? But there is one consistent thread throughout the Bible from beginning to end. God’s continual and persistent pursuit of us, to bring forgiveness, reconciliation and eternal life.
Friends, most of you have already put your trust in Christ for your salvation. We rejoice and celebrate God’s goodness.
But for anyone reading this who doesn’t have peace with God, I urge you to consider your eternal destiny. God loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He wants relationship with you. He’s offered freely life with Him for eternity. He sent Himself to die a brutal death, carrying my sin, your sin, and the sins of the whole world, so that we could have eternal life. Life lived well, doing good things doesn’t get us to heaven. Only putting our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. He will change you from the inside out.
It’s hard to believe. I admit it’s hard to explain. But I know what the Bible says. And I know what God’s done for me. I have been forgiven of a lifetime of sin, and I know His love. One day I will die--today, tomorrow or in my withering old age. And on that day, I will know. Just as Andy knows.
That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9-10