Through the years, I have conducted many funerals, provided sympathy to folks who needed it, given encouragement to keeping on when life screamed to "Give Up." Up to now, I thought I was pretty good at it.
Many years ago, a young couple regularly attended the church of which I was a pastor. Along with her folks, they owned a resort on the Lake of the Ozarks. In the realm of important things in their life, number 1 was their marriage and their children. Number 2 was probably their extended family. Number 3 was their business. My guess was the the Lord ranked somewhere in the top 10. I really did like them. They were good folks.
One day, the Dry Cleaning and Laundry folks came by to deliver some clean clothes and the driver of the vehicle asked me if I had heard about Jerry_________'s death. Jerry was a young man in his late 20's. There was a gas leak on the pump at the boat dock at his resort. Jerry got in the water, put a pipe wrench on the pipe that was leaking and was immediately electrocuted by a short in the pipe. I will always remember his wife saying, "I don't ask for him back, I just want the Lord to take me too!" A big hole was felt by Liz as Jerry was taken from her. He just wasn't going to be seen again in this life. I tried to minister to this very nice lady, and perhaps I did, but there was no way for me to feel her pain that day. Today, I know what she was feeling.
We read about tragedies that take place on the streets, in homes, during recreation, traveling and murders and we say, "That's too bad, and it really is; however, when the tragedy walks in our front door and the victim is someone in our family, those words are hallow and almost meaningless. Today, I know what a particular family that has experience one of those tragedies feels.
I see the looks of unbelief in the faces of Cindy, Sue, Jamie and Holly and it makes me want to cry. I feel the hurt that Kendall and Guy feel by the loss of their special brother-in-law. Today, I know that feeling.
To all of you who have expressed sorrow, caring, prayer support, I cannot begin to express my thanks to each of you. Whether you have experienced such a loss or not, your caring is helping all of us move on with our lives. We have a wonderful Savior in Jesus Christ. He is real and cares for each of us. Today, I know that feeling more than ever.