He was only seventeen when the good Lord called him home.
Loved ones left behind stumble bewildered.
One thing is certain, the man had faith,
trust in things he did not know or understand.
His mother has taken solace that he is relieved from the judgement of this earth.
He struggled here, always contemplating, questioning, having a philosophical bent.
People didn’t quite understand him.
At only seventeen, he yearned to proclaim the gospel message.
He memorized a verse prior to his passing.
His ways [God’s] are not our ways.
Oh, how true this is.
We would never think a righteous man to be taken so soon.
Why didn’t he have the opportunity for romance? For intellectual pursuits found at college? For offspring? For a fulfilling labor?
Maybe he did, but not in how we imagine such things.
His romance was Christ, a deep intimacy with him from a young age.
At seventeen, he was interested in topics not often found intriguing by his peers.
The children he played with and supervised will remember a life devoted to God, even to the end. With a family’s forgiveness, his nieces and nephews, should he have any in the future, will stand in awe of such compassion.
High school is a challenging time, a labor not for the faint of heart.
He ran the race though. He ran it well. In this life and I’m sure the one eternal. His accolades speak volumes to his endurance.
If anything, his unrelenting devotion has taught me a thing or two.
I no longer care what others think of me for my faith. Now, don’t misread me. This does not excuse me from misbehavior. Rather, I am called to a higher standard. Now, not only am I not to physically act out violently, I am not even to think maliciously. Jesus calls us to a higher standard of living. I just don’t care what others think about me for it now.
I want to love and love radically. However, I’m not going to excuse myself for the convictions I have. In fact, sometimes love requires me to be honest even when it is seemingly cruel. As a parent, I instruct my children to do things they might not want to. It is for their ultimate benefit, not their desires or demands, even if they can’t comprehend that currently.
This life doesn’t seem as important anymore. It is so fleeting. We aren’t promised tomorrow. How am I going to use today? Will I use it for my own accords or will I use it to make Christ known? Will I share the message of a Savior crucified on our behalf and the victory gained over death through his resurrection and ascension. Will I submit to him in receiving this or will I still assert my plan as better?
The gospel can seem offensive. I claim that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father but through Christ. I believe in a God who was crucified, buried, and arose on the third day. Yes, our Messiah endured the death meant for thieves, rapists, murderers, the vilest of society. He was beaten on our account. He hung on a tree, a mockery. Individuals have thought Christians foolish for believing in such a meek Savior.
The world can think me a fool. I’m not living for the here and now. I’m living for Christ eternal and the things of this world seem petty in comparison. Acceptance and approval seem less critical in light of such perspective. I’ve carried this burden too long. I’ve fought to be approved of. Who am I living for though? Man or God? I’m tired of straining for humanity’s acceptance. It has only left me fatigued.
I’m thanking him for his example. He didn’t care if he fit in. Your death was not in vain. If anything, it is teaching me to run harder, faster, to the footstool of Christ. I want to memorize Scripture and know that things aren’t what they seem. I can have a peace which surpasses all understanding.
Christ makes beautiful things out of us, out of my ashes, my dying self. Christ is becoming more important to me than the platitudes of man. I’m not excused from goodness, but rather charged to be even more kind. I’m more tolerant when I become less concerned with appeasement and agreement. Tolerance isn’t agreeing with everyone and spiraling downward to the implosion of relativism. Tolerance is hearing other people and responding with a loving answer. What is more loving than to share the good news in truth and grace? Now, understand this does not mean I need to belittle the thoughts of others who disagree. Rather, it means I show empathy in the questioning, solidarity in the searching.
I’m finding that I care less about the impression of man though. What is the thing of greatest importance? What will take the utmost priority in my life?
Let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. My part is to be a vessel for the good news so that that prayer might be ushered in, actually transpire. May his praise be always on my lips. May my heart seek his praises more than a human’s.
Take my life Lord, seal it for thy courts above.