A short time ago Chad, a Christian friend of mine, passed away in a tragic car accident. His brother was critically injured.
Prior to leaving Brazil, he probably told his mom, "See you later Mom, we're going to (visit my brother). Be back this afternoon. I love you."
It didn't happen. He didn't come back. At least he didn't come back the way it was planned. He did come back, though, a week later after a coroner had released his body and a funeral had been planned for him.
Thousands and thousands of times, depending on our age, we have left home to run a simple errand or take a short road trip and arrived home safely. Kroger's, Walmart, the gas station, visiting a friend... we all have done it. The majority of us make it home. Some do not. But, when do we know it's our last trip? We don't.
After my friend's death, I thought a lot about his mom and the terrible event. What does a person feel when the phone rings unexpectedly or you get that dreaded visit from a police officer at your door? So many times, on news reports, I hear reporters asking the most stupid question I have ever heard asked; "What are you feeling right now?" "Are you going to miss him?" How brazen is that? Brazen is a kind adjective. Ignorant, moronic, idiotic and simpleminded seem more fitting. Human nature tells us how they might feel, but we can't even imagine. It's an experience no parent, grandparent, wife, husband or sibling should have to go through. But, sadly, they do.
The fortunate thing in this situation is that Chad's mother is a Christian woman who trusts God in all matters and occurrences. Oh, to have that strength, that courage, that trust, that blessed assurance that at the precise moment her son died, that he was resting comfortably in God's arms!
We just talked to Dee, Chad's mom, yesterday. She seems to be holding up well, on the outside. She and my wife can share the feeling of losing a son. My stepson died suddenly in 2002. After eleven years, I can attest to the fact that the pain never goes way. Anniversaries, birthdays, family get-togethers, Mondays, Tuesdays... every single day a memory conjures up feelings: some sad, some happy. Not a day passes that something doesn't remind Susan of Kirk. I'm sure Dee feels the same way about Chad.
Chad's funeral attendance crowded our church sanctuary. With all due respect to those who witnessed Chad's memorial service, I would bet a lot of those people had never been inside a church in years. Chad would have loved it. The pastor remembered Chad as a loving, Christian man who died far too soon. But, as pastor said, Chad completed his time on earth as God had planned. We will never know why His plan was so short, stopped so abruptly. Chad touched so many lives in his 27 years. He drove the church van filled with children, sat in the same seat every Sunday and wore the same hat all the time. A hat he was buried in. Several friends eulogized Chad, fondly recalling the good times they had while he was in their presence. The funniest thing I heard that snowy, Tuesday morning was a girl who stood and remembered Chad. She said that she will never forget Chad hugging her one time, saying, "I love hugging a sinner." What laughter that remark brought. It was something only Chad would come up with. Although most of his acquaintances did not attend church, they knew Chad was a Christian. Let's pray the seed was planted.
The purpose behind this article is to remind you to never, ever leave your loved ones wondering just how much you love them. Today is called the present because it is, a present from God. We never know what tomorrow will bring. God does. He's been there.