I opened up Facebook, did my usual browsing, and stopped on a prayer request. Someone from our church, 37 years old, a newlywed, was killed in a car accident yesterday. When I read the name, my heart stopped and tears welled in my eyes. My throat tightened. I knew this man.
Six or seven years ago (it may have even been longer ago), my husband and I were newlyweds ourselves, and we didn’t have many joint friends. I attended school in Boston, and my husband attended school in Oregon. The distance meant that when I came home from school, all of my friends were thousands of miles away. And while his friends were around, I wasn’t immediately part of the group because they had shared experiences that I didn’t. It’s no one’s fault, it just is what it is.
We were walking around after an evening church service, and we ran into a guy stacking chairs, helping when no one asked him to. He smiled, jutted out his hand and introduced himself. He was bubbly and full of life and eager to meet new people and make new friends. He continued to stack the chairs and asked us questions about our lives. How long had we been attending our church? How long had we been together? What did we do for a living? I remember him commenting on the blessing of the marriage we had and how he couldn’t wait to find his future wife. He had a knack for small talk, one knack I can’t claim to have myself.
We didn’t see him much after that because our church grew quickly, and we attended different services. But, his name would pop up now and then, and I would remember the friendly guy who made us feel like we had an immediate friend.
It is this man who was driving his car when another crossed the median and killed him at the scene.
I read a phrase a few weeks ago that has stuck with me.
You live like tomorrow is promised.
Many people take a phrase like this to mean “live it up,” but as Christians, we have to stop and think about what we’re doing and how we are following God. We don’t know when Christ will return, and we don’t know if we’ll wake to see tomorrow. We need to stand up and pour our lives into the work of Jesus. We need to love our families. We need to love each other. We need to not live like there’s no tomorrow, but we need to love like there’s no tomorrow.
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Tonight my heart is broken for the wife and family of a man I had only once met. He is now in the presence of Jesus, a place we Christians long to be. But, here on this earth tonight is a family and group of friends crushed beyond belief. Tonight, I shed tears with them, and take this lesson above to heart.
mourn with those who mourn.
We never know how long we have.