Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there by any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
My son was on fire for Christ! Why? How can this happen? Why does this happen to God’s children? How?”
The mother’s heartbreaking cries by the coffin brought tears and anguish to everyone in the small dimly lit room. The flower arrangements of white carnations and roses infused the air, so much so that it nearly suffocated those in attendance. The unbearable piercing cries of the inconsolable figure of the mother draped around her son’s body was unbearable. So difficult to observe, and so frustrating to those in attendance who felt helpless and cohesive in sympathy.
Bobby, Linda’s son, had finally gotten his life together. After his wife left him for another man, he completely lost it. She confessed to Bobby that she never loved him in the first place, and barely acknowledged him after signing the final divorce papers and walked away without looking back. After the shock wore off somewhat, he went into a downward spiral, and began drinking.
The consumption of alcohol soon took over his life. He lost his job, lost his friends, and almost lost his life after careening into a tree on his motorcycle one wintry night in December. Ironically, Christmas Eve. He was fortunate and barely got a scratch. His mother implored him to go to a AA meeting. He agreed.
He attended meetings and successfully kept his sobriety for five years straight. Somewhere during this time, he became a born-again Christian. A man truly on fire for Christ, and he went to revivals, brought many people to Jesus by preaching the word. And even became a Chaplain, mainly involved with helping Veterans in his hometown. He was a veteran himself.
All was well with his life. The memory of his marriage in the rear-view mirror. His love for God soaring to new heights. He attended baptisms in his congregation and celebrated every single time. “Congratulations, you are a new creation in Christ!” he’d say when someone was baptized. He helped countless individuals. It was a good life, a very good life indeed.
Until Christmas Eve five years later, Bobby was getting ready to go to his mom’s house. His siblings, nieces and nephews would all be there for their traditional meal, followed by midnight mass. The phone rang and it was a frantic pastor. “Bobby, I know you have plans and it’s Christmas Eve, but can you take the time to attend one baptism?”
The young man who came to know Christ because of Bobby was being baptized. The family member who was going with him for the baptism was sick with the flu. So, he requested Bobby last minute. Bobby couldn’t say no. He accepted and told his mom he’d be late. His mother knew her son’s heart and was all the prouder of him and his ways.
After the baptism Bobby hugged the young man, “Congratulations, you are a new creation in Christ!” Walking away he got onto his motorcycle. waved goodbye and his parting words were, “Jesus is LORD!”
Those were the last words Bobby uttered. A car with a drunken driver behind the wheel barreled into him catapulting him into the air killing him instantly!
While the family gathered around the fireplace, they wondered how much longer before Bobby showed up. They didn’t have to wonder any longer. The bell rang and two police officers were at the door hats in hands. The scream that escaped Linda’s mouth was one in which would never be forgotten before she fainted dead away.
How do you handle a situation like this? What do you say to his family? What about the young lady who was drunk and killed him?
These are the trials of Christians. When things don’t make sense. When anger transcends all else. Where questions arise that are unable to be answered.
All we can offer is love, patience, and comfort where we can give it. God never said we won’t face sorrows. He said He’d never leave us in times of trouble. We may never know the answer to many things in this lifetime. But we will in the next. We just do the best we can with His strength, His guidance, and His grace. (Philippians 4:13) We gather in His name for the presence of mind to give the words and the love to those around us in need. We do this as Christians. We do this as a united front, as one body of Christ.
I hugged Linda’s quivering body listening to her cries for the longest time. She gently broke away looked at me and asked, “How do I go on?”
How do I answer that question? Who can? I replied with what God quickly placed in my heart.
“Bobby made an incredible difference in hundreds and hundreds of lives during the five years after his transformation. He served our Country and was discharged with honors. He worked endlessly to provide for the Veterans and homeless. He counseled those who needed help. Opened his arms for those who needed a hug. And selflessly gave of himself willingly and openly without one complaint. Perhaps the answer to this horrific tragedy might be it was his time. God loved Bobby and his work was done here on earth.
Bobby made a huge impact and difference in five years, that most people don’t accomplish in a lifetime. Along with his unwavering faith, hands-on services, and continuity in his love for others, he had a soul that was kind, almost pure. He truly was a reflection of Christ! And I’ve no doubt He’s seated with His Lord and Savior right this very moment.”
That’s what God felt Linda needed to hear to make sense of what happened that Christmas Eve. Those were the only words I could offer to this woman of faith strength and dignity. She seemed at peace after those words. Truly at peace. (Matthew 5:4)
God called Bobby home on Christmas Eve.
I think that says it all…
“Father thank You for Your words and comfort during times of sorrow, and Your promises of everlasting life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
John 16:22 says “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”