Here is a post that I didn’t think I’d be writing this early in my life! As you may have inferred, from both the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks, and the last written post I made, our family has been through the loss of a dear, dear friend – a true brother in the faith, gone too soon.
As my wife and I sat and talked about how we saw life differently afterwards, three things came to our minds. Each of these points is simply our reflections on what the impact of losing a very close friend means for us.
1. Things that we think are important actually aren’t.
The first thing that we found to be deeply, deeply true is that the modern worldview that we have adopted in our culture – particularly in the West – the commodification of things and people, doesn’t stack up in the face of such tragedy. What has the purchase of a new lap top, or a watch, or a phone, or the latest game have to say in the face of such sadness. What do they have to offer when people are gone? What can they give that we want when someone we love is taken from us, never to be seen again. What is it that we hang on to in those moments? Not things, but memories – we talk about the last time we spoke to them, the last contact that we had with them. Our last conversation with Jay was a lovely one, it was a conversation in which he, as he often did, cheered us on in our ministry, and offered encouragement to us to keep going. This is the precious thing that we will hold on to, for we know that we can never have our brother back again, we know that he will never be cheering for us from the sidelines, only amongst the great cloud of witnesses that we all will one day join. This is far more important to us than any other thing that we could have, or fame that we could achieve in this life. The old proverb is true – “What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.”
2. The pace of life that we live seems to be against how God would have us live.
The second thing that we were both so impacted by was that the pace of modern life seems to demand so much from us, and while it seems right, it seems to go against the way that God would have us live. The natural pace of life lived in deep fellowship with the Triune God of the universe seems to be A LOT slower than modern life. God seems to always call us to slow down, to take our time with what we are doing, to be present with the task, to give ourselves to him in the process of what it is we are doing. Because there are things out there that of far more value than the things that we tend to place our value on, and the way to truly enjoy them is to slow down and experience them, then this is what God calls us to, a life that is lived in an intentional way, a life that is lived on purpose, to enjoy fellowship with Christ in all things, to fellowship with creation, and with others who are made in his image.
3. God’s work is not just to be found inside the church walls
One thing that we noted as we looked around at all of the lives that were touched by our friend Jay, was that the work of God is not just to be found inside the walls of the church building. God is not contained to one location, or to one room, he does not just work in people’s lives on Sunday at a particular place. Rather he is present through his people wherever they are. He dwells in each one of us, and so where we go, there he is, and there his work will be carried out. We have the ability to touch lives with his good news, with his love, faith, and hope, wherever we go. Whatever is done is his name is done to extend his kingdom. And this was seen in the thousands of people who were touched by the life of our friend Jay.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have something to add to this list!