death surprises us

I was driving up north 29 yesterday morning in a heavier traffic than I expected. With that in mind, I paid attention to the traffic report which talked about both directions of a highway in a nearby city being closed due to an accident. On an update about an hour later, I learned that there had been a fatality. “Sad.” I thought, and continued on my trip.

I had no idea.

This morning I received an email from a former colleague. I learned that there had been not one, but two fatalities. One man about my age, and a young man, 23 years of age, his name was Michael.

I was privileged to have known Michael at Covenant. He graduated in my next to last year of serving there.

Over on my Facebook newsfeed, I see that there has been a lot of comment about Michael’s death. A lot of sadness is being expressed at the loss of this young man.

Death is a part of life, but when it comes to the young, death surprises us. We have difficulty making sense of it.

There have been a lot of very nice things said about Michael. Nice things are always said about those who have been lost to death, especially the young. But in his case, he really deserves all that is being said… and more.

I meet with a couple of guys for wings on the occasional Tuesday nights. These guys went to school with Michael. We spoke about him, and what a great person he was. I said he was without a doubt one of the nicest people I’d taught. I’ve thought about him from time to time today, and upon reflection, I can say this, Michael was was among the kindest, most thoughtful, most respectful and genuine people I have ever met… in my life.

There are a lot of nice people I have met and worked with, but Michael was in a class above. He never drew attention to himself, he was a servant, an encourager. He was mature beyond his years. And even though I’ve used the word already, yes, he was genuine.

I remember one time when I was having a less than good day, Michael took the time to ask if I was doing okay. That didn’t happen a great deal. But for him, it seems that it came naturally. To see someone who needed a kind word and then give it.

I have learned today that he has recently married. For his dear parents, and his sister, and for his bride, I pray. I pray that God would, as Paul described, grant them the peace that passes all understanding. May the Holy Spirit bring comfort. Jesus, in one translation, calls Him the comforter. Bring comfort to this family, O God, I pray.

In a few weeks, I will be a grandfather. As I write, I consider that I would quite proud for my grandson to be the kind of young man that I observed in Michael.

Kind. Truly thoughtful. Indeed, he demonstrated Godliness. Yes, I think I saw Jesus walking in those shoes of his.

I can hear him now, “Hey Reverend, How you doin today?”

Right now Michael, I’m sad. You will be sorely missed by those who knew you Michael. Sorely missed indeed. But, I have hope in Jesus and hope that we will be worshiping him together by and by.

O God, bring comfort to Michael’s family, I pray.

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