“Pastor Mark, have you heard about the accident on I-69 (The freeway by our home)?” This question came over my phone from a young lady in our church. “Yes, I have heard about the accident.” I responded. Everybody knew about this accident on August 6th in the evening because traffic was backed up for miles in each direction.
“My Aunt Trixie is in the hospital with injuries from the accident. ” the young lady continued. There was a pause and then she added: “My Uncle George didn’t make it.” I was in my chair sitting and quite stunned. I had seen George yesterday in church and now I hear the news that he is dead.
The next day, The Lansing State Journal published the details of the accident. A truck had run into George and Trixie’s car. The traffic was already stopped on the freeway because of another accident. George had no way to escape as the truck smashed into the line of cars without braking.
I don’t always understand the ways of God, but this whole event has helped me to focus on the Lord, death and my life. A sudden death has a way of making one think about eternity and one’s relationship with God.
1. George’s death reminds me to be grateful for my salvation.
Several months before, I had heard George share his testimony of how he had come to know Jesus Christ as Savior. When I saw him the day before his death, he didn’t know that the Lord would call him home the next day. One of the most difficult things to do as a pastor is to do a funeral of a person who dies without the knowledge of the Savior. I am glad that when I do George’s funeral later this Friday, I can say: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” George is in the presence of the Lord because of the saving grace of His Savior, Jesus Christ.
2. George’s death helps me to see the reality of God’s grace.
In recent days, I have visited Trixie a few times in the hospital and now in rehab. Thankfully, she is improving physically. I am amazed by the peace of God that is radiating from her life. She grieves for the temporary loss of her husband, but God’s grace and comfort is obvious in her life. God has used Trixie to show me that He is real in times of great hardship and pain. Trixie’s faith has encouraged me to know in a fresh way that God’s grace is real. As the Lord said to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
3. George’s death helps me to see that each day is a gift from God. George had invested his life in helping others. He had a gift of helps and service which he used in the lives of others. I definitely have different gifts and talents than George, but am I using what God has given me for His glory each and every day? Paul near the time of his death was able to say: “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) Will I be able to say these same words?
In the coming weeks, I will have more thoughts concerning George’s entrance into the presence of the Lord I am glad for the words of Christ: “I am the resurrection and the life.” For the believer, death is the entrance unto eternal life. This is only made possible by the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Some people may feel that George’s death is a waste, but from God’s perspective this is far from true. George affected many people’s lives while he was alive, but he is now affecting many lives in his death, including myself. I thank God for the privilege of having known George.