On the way to church yesterday morning, I clearly recall that I was quite concerned over the fact that I had forgotten to apply mascara and did not bring a comfortable pair of shoes for shopping later in the afternoon.  In addition, we were running a little late, which compounded the problem.  As we slid into the pew just as the service was beginning, I took a deep breath, trying not to worry about these minor details that had seemingly grown to major league proportions.  All of the sudden, all of these minor details vanished, overwrought by unexpected news that jolted me to the core.

As the service began, a dear friend delivered news that Corporal Gary Edwards, the School Resource Officer at the school where I teach, had passed away Sunday morning from injuries sustained in an accident.  The Ford Ranger he was driving was struck by a drunk driver.  The impact caused his vehicle to veer into a utility pole.  He was taken off of life support late Sunday morning.  As I sat there listening to the words my friend spoke, I was stunned.  That morning, I had been awakened by an unpleasant dream.  Now, I felt as if I was living a nightmare.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear news like this.  Only a few moments before, my major concern was whether or not I was wearing mascara.  Soon, I realized that mascara would have only made black streaks on my cheeks, due to the tears that welled up in my eyes.

My heart crumbled with every single word.  I sat there in disbelief as I tried to process the information I had just been given.  This Christian man, who loved the Lord with all of his heart and also loved his family more than anything, was taken from this world in an instant.  There was no indication that this would be his last day on earth.  He had lived on this earth for 43 years, always smiling, always lending a hand, always abiding by the commandment to love one another.  He leaves behind a loving wife and two precious daughters.  I can’t help but wonder…  Of all the people in the world, how could this happen to someone who was so loving, so supportive, and so genuine?  Why did this have to happen at all?

In life, there are no guarantees.  We may be here one day, and then we may be gone the next.  One simple action can be the difference between life and death.  The driver of the other car could have been the one killed in Gary’s place.  But instead, the driver was taken to jail unscathed.  No single person on earth knows why these things happen the way they do.  Still, we know that God’s word remains true, even in trying times like these.  Romans 8:37-39 (NIV) states, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  No matter what difficult times may come, there is nothing that can take away God’s love.  Not even death nor life can take us away from the unconditional love that He continually pours out to us.

Tomorrow, when you go to work or school, I encourage you to do one thing.  No matter where you are or what you are doing, treasure life itself.  Show others around you that you have the blessed hope of Christ.  Reveal to them the special love that God bestows upon us.  Officer Edwards always had a smile on his face, a song in his heart, and a kind word on his lips.  The love of Jesus was evident in everything he did.  He was a wonderful husband to his wife Robyne, father to his daughters Tyla and Toi, and friend to everyone who knew him.  Above all, he was the prime example of a Christian who loved the Lord with all of his heart.  Although we are sad without this special individual in our lives, we can find comfort in the fact that we will see him again in Heaven, if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Do not wait until it is too late.  There are no guarantees in life.  Live.  Love.  Laugh.  Live every moment to the fullest.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Laugh and share joy with others.  Cherish life.  It is God’s gift to you.

In Christ’s Love,