It's been over eight years since Kristin went home to her permanent residence. Since then two very close friends of hers joined her. Four years ago her good friend Michael died in an accident. He was only 21 years old. Five months ago Tommy, another friend also died at the tender age of 18. One of the questions that is often asked by many is, "Why?" It's a question I have never asked of the Lord. I was pondering whether I should ask that question in the hotel room next to the hospital where Kristin was in ICU the night after she was admitted. I decided not to ask. I was certain there would not be an answer. I was also certain that if I did get an answer, I wouldn't be satisfied with it and, therefore question God's judgement. I also felt that it was very presumptuous to question God about His decisions. After all He is God. I don't believe it's at all proper to ask God why He does things beyond what He has revealed to us in His Bible. He's a very good writer, and His book is complete. If He wishes to reveal anything to me, I just need to keep reading. He also tells me to be content in whatsoever state I am. That can be real tough. It has been at times.
Kristin's friends, Michael and Tommy have parents who are grieving their loss just like Carol and I, but we have hope because we have a savior. He not only saved us from our sins but also from Hell. They are all where they should be, not here. Why so soon? I don't know. But, it's OK, the clock is ticking and it won't be long until we join her. What a day that will be.
Is it ever too late to reach a lost soul for Christ? Of course, when they die. But any time before that, the lost can be saved. My Dad prayed to receive Christ four hours before he died. Close call, but adequate. He was in an intensive care unit. Several organs had quit functioning meaning death was imminent. As I witnessed to him, even in his weak condition, he surrendered his will and pride to admit he was a sinner, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and confess Him as Savior. Don't ever give up on someone you care about. There's always a chance.
Do you have a friend who has lost a child? If so, I have a message for them. But, before I get into the details, I need to explain. Losing a child is a unique experience. It's been almost eight years since Kristin went home. My perspective has undergone a process of clarity. Trust me when I say that if you have not lost a child, you can't know what it does to a person. I'm not going into those details now, but please accept my word on it for the purpose of this article.
The Kristin tract was brought to us about a month after she died. We were not looking for anything like this at all. We were just going about getting through our days. When we were presented with the concept of the Kristin tract everything came together rather quickly. There were no real roadblocks to getting it done and offered. The tract has been a blessing to us in more ways than imaginable. Of course, it reaches people for Christ in a unique way. It has also been a wonderful way to make the loss of Kristin mean something. So, here's the purpose of the article. We would like to encourage others to do the same. Do something that makes the loss more tolerable. Something that matters. I don't think it matters what that could be. Let the Lord guide. Being open to ideas that God presents is the first step. Just being aware that God cares and will give something that He cares about that will also take some of the sting out of this catastrophic event.
Please pray about getting a mourning parent in touch with us. We now have enough time behind us to be of benefit to others. Since we don't get an answer as to "why", we can respond to losing a child by going on the offense. Making it count is important to us and our Savior.
We received this email the other day.
"I don’t usually write emails to strangers like this out of the blue but something is telling me I need to send this. Faith I think. I’m not an extremely religious person, I don’t go to church regularly (growing up I did but eventually me and my family just slowly stopped) but I believe in God and want a better relationship with him. Yesterday I had a strange sort of dream where something came to me and told me if I believed then just saying so wasn’t enough, I need to do better. I woke up with that eating at me cause I never have dreams like that and it was so random. That next day (Today) I got out of class and I was all alone walking home and a man came out of nowhere and handed me a little pamphlet with a beautiful girls face on it and it was about a girl name Kristen who was taken too soon. I’m very sorry for your loss. But I don’t think she came in to my life by accident. I don’t know why I’m receiving this message now but I just wanted to reach out and thank you for the prayer and hope. I don’t think these incidents were just coincidence, they both happened together for a reason. I’m only 22 years old so I hope to have a long life ahead of me, but I want it to be a life filled with meaning. Thank you."
An article stated that the middle child has unique challenges to overcome. I contend that the first child and the last child and all of the other children have unique challenges to overcome. The idea that a position in the family hierarchy creates unique challenges may or may not be valid, however the discussion overlooks reality. We are all middle children, if you are a believer. There were many Christians who came before us who are older now and there are many behind us, especially if you have just become a Christian. All Christians are middle children. There isn't a better example of equality than Christianity. Jesus died for all, equally. He allows us to grow in fellowship with Him equally. He doesn't discriminate on any basis. Example, the Father "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust". There you have equality spelled out in just a few words. God will save your soul by one means, Himself, and excludes nobody.
There is one opportunity for exclusion. Don't tell anyone about salvation through Christ.
Have you ever spent time visiting a nursing home? If you haven't, maybe it's time you did. There are millions of people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the U.S. The ones in nursing homes are on their last journey toward eternity. There were over sixty people who attended the service and very few of them smiled at all. Most were very sad. I preached on Galatians 6:3. It had dawned on me that many believe that text doesn't pertain to them because they think they are something. One day they may be in a nursing home. Maybe that passage will suddenly come to light.
Every day that goes by, the future meets the present. One day everything in your world as you know it will cease to exist. Everything will go dark and the very same moment you will meet your eternal destiny. What does this mean top you? Do you believe everything simply ceases, with nothing to follow? Do you believe there is no life after physical death? The only recorded incidents of people who have come back to life after a prolonged period of death are mentioned in the Bible. Why do you suppose that there are no recorded events of coming back to life after death other than those that are in the Bible? Probably because there aren't any.
How can you know of a certainty that what you believe is true? One person came back to life on His own, without the help of science. His name was Jesus Christ. He died! Then He came back and physically visited numerous people who said they talked to him and even touched Him. He knows, of a certainty, that there is life after death. He took a journey while dead. He talked about it. Why would He talk about something if it were not so? What could possibly motivate Him to do so? Why would He lie?
Jesus was compassionate and caring. He healed people even when He was persecuted for who He said He was. Why would such a person lie to you?
I was convinced a long time ago (50 years) that Jesus could save my soul. I was so convinced that He did so that I led my family members on a quest to their own salvation through Jesus Christ. There is only one thing that is more of a tragedy than losing a child. Losing a child who goes to Hell. This is a most difficult concept to grasp. A parent who is so proud that he/she won't surrender to Christ's atoning grace may be dooming the people they love the most in this world to eternal torment and damnation. UNIMAGINABLE! I really can't wrap my mind around such disregard for even the possibility that what I'm writing here may be true. For those of us who are completely convinced that Heaven is for the redeemed and Hell is for the un-redeemed, we are admonished by God to reach those who are lost. May we honor His desire and His sacrifice.
Most recently I was watching a newscast about a commentator who referred to Christians as schizophrenic. She was referring to a comment by a Christian who said that Jesus spoke to him. I'm not sure what this Christian meant, but Jesus speaks to me, too. Well, through His word, not audibly. When I read my Bible the Holy Spirit of God helps me to "hear" what He has to say to me specifically. Unless you are a born again believer, this doesn't happen. In any case a non-believer wouldn't get it anyway. By the audience reaction, her comments were resoundingly approved. What a shame. All of the problems faced by our country and world can be solved by one event, a newborn Christian. Unfortunately, most Christian leaders are not supporting an effort to reach others for Christ. They are more concerned with numbers of bodies attending church than the quality of the Christian experience. I don't want this to be a para-church ministry. I don't call it a ministry. It is not a non-profit organization even though there is no profit here. It's merely a means to declare the gospel in the simplest and easiest manner possible.
I have been reading my Bible since I was a teenager. There are so many verses that mean a great deal to me, but one passage in Ecclesiastes has been of particular help. I talked about Chapter 11 on the front page of this website and discussed how it pertains to witnessing, but it really also pertains to life's struggles. Chapter 11 shows us how our days should be pursued. I'm not going to go into the details here, but maybe you could go there and contemplate your daily living habits. adopting this chapter as a life course wouldn't be a bad way to go.
Not everyone has the opportunities and the boldness to hand out tracts in large numbers, but a tract per day could be a great goal. many of us men wear shirts with pockets. Placing a single tract in your pocket is important because opportunities to offer tracts are often sudden and unexpected. Searching for a tract may cause a loss of opportunity. I stopped by a Home Depot to pick up a new ballast for my light fixture in the garage. As I left the store I noticed a large tent filled with rugs. My wife, Carol has bee is always open to a new rug so I stopped to see what they had. A salesperson asked if I needed help and of course I said I was just looking. What a simple opportunity to hand him a tract, but I was wearing a t shirt, no pocket. Opportunity lost.
So, what can you do if the brief interaction takes place. Here's what you say to a store clerk."Thanks for offering to help, I'll be browsing and I'll be sure to ask if I need something. Here's a story about a young lady that I believe you will enjoy". Hand him/her a tract and go about your business. There's no need to go into any details or extend the conversation. Let the Holy Spirit do His work. You are to deliver the message and you have fulfilled that work. It's best to stay in your own lane and do your own job. God can handle it all without us, but He likes to let us get in on the fun.