Two weeks ago, I became instant friends with a man I had just met. We were having a business lunch and as we sat and talked, we found a common bond between us. I believe it was, certainly, our faith in Christ. We were brothers after all and I’m certain the indwelling Holy Spirit who guides us daily could have been what drew us together. We talked again a few times in the following days, mostly about business because we had some duties to perform. By the end of the next week, I had been with my new friend as he suffered the death of his wife of about 28 years. The day before her being rushed to the hospital, she had been fine. No major emergencies, no life-threatening diagnosis. She was fine. She wasn’t sleeping well but, with the issues on her mind, sleep was just not part of the equation.
Fine one moment. Gone the next. That truly does sum up how we exit this physical realm to enter the celestial-spiritual one where we see our Savior, face to face.
Just five days before my friend’s loss of his wife, my own wife and I were on a motorcycle run for a local charity. There were probably one-hundred bikes in the entourage that began winding its way through the rolling countryside of southeastern Ohio . Two couples that were directly behind us on two bikes would not finish this particular run. After our group pulled off for gas, the couples behind us drove on. Within fifteen minutes, we came upon the crash site. A woman driving a pick-up truck rounded a downhill curve too fast and her right tire went off the roadway. She over-corrected and drove her truck at about forty or so miles per hour directly into the first couple. The impact literally launched both into eternity. The second couple was also hit and survived; but, not without some serious physical trauma.
I learned, later, the deceased couple were in their hometown at the crash and were members of a local Bible-believing church. From accounts of friends, it’s easy to see the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and we trust they are safe in our Father’s arms. Less than an hour before, they had climbed on their bike expecting a good ride, leaving from the company where the husband had been employed and well-liked for 17 years, to arrive, within an instant of being hit, to stand before the throne of grace and mercy and see their Savior, face to face. I cannot help but wonder what the last words they spoke to one another before the crash had been. What was the last thing said between them and their family members on that morning or the day before?
Did any of these three who, within a few days of each other, died so unexpectedly leave anything undone? Were there harsh words between them and someone in their family? Was there something that needed to be said still unspoken? Did someone else’s anger against them, for any of a thousand possibilities, leave the issue unresolved? Would the bearer of that anger, which the Bible teaches is not something we should hold onto for more than a day, be left without any chance of ever saying, “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you”? The heaviness of carrying that for the rest of their life would be overwhelming.
If these three people’s immediate and unexpected departure from this life teaches us anything, and I believe it teaches us many, there certainly is one primary lesson. Leave nothing unsaid, no loving action and no words of comfort, no acts of forgiveness undone. Do not leave your relationship with God the Father unsettled. We know not when Jesus beckons.