Years ago, after months of prayer and challenging conversations, my beautiful wife had the privilege of praying with her father as he confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord, asked Him into his heart and received Him as his savior. That moment, while exciting and meaningful at the time, means so much more today, as my father-in-law Rick passed away this afternoon.
He was a motorcycle guy. That was his thing. It was one of the things he loved to do most, was ride his Gold Wing. That was exactly what he was doing this afternoon...riding his bike. After ugly storms came through Knoxville last night, today was a beautiful day, so he headed out for a ride this afternoon. He loved to ride the backroads and explore the country. That was what he was doing when he died...the thing he loved. It was estimated that he died almost instantly on impact. In this heart breaking time, there is comfort for us in knowing that he died doing what he loved and presumably did not suffer much if at all.
So many people have offered their sympathies and condolences, and offered to do "anything" we might need. Times like this can be so awkward. As so many of you know I'm sure, most often there's so little you can do. But there are a couple of things I would ask...
First and most practical, prayers for comfort and peace. Crys truly was a Daddy's girl...she will miss him dearly. Adjusting to life without him will be challenging for all of us.
Secondly, read and understand this...
You never know when your time is up
None of us saw this coming. There's no way we could have. It could happen to anyone, at anytime. But here's the thing...I believe we can all be prepared when it does.
Believe what you will about it, but the Bible is the most historically and accurately preserved collection of text in human history by an imcomparable margin. I find it hard to comprehend how anyone can know and understand that and not acknowledge the validity of its contents.
If you can do that, then it stands to reason that you might be open to considering what it has to say about our options when we die. While there's an awful lot in there, the foundations of it all can actually be summed up fairly quickly and easily.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God -- Romans 3:23
Most logical, rational people, at least to a certain extent, are able to recognize that they are a sinner. Doesn't matter if you're a generally good and nice person or anything like that...we all sin. Nobody is perfect.
...but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -- Romans 5:8
Jesus Christ died for us. And by us, it means all of us...everyone...all people in human history. He lived a perfect, sinless life, and was the perfect sacrifice to save us all for our sins.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. -- Romans 6:23
Jesus' death paved the way for us...again, all of us...to enjoy life, eternally, with Him in paradise...after we die.
...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. -- Romans 10:9-10
That's all that God asks of us, is that we acknowledge what He has done...that He is real...that His Son Jesus was real...that He lived a perfect, sinless life on this earth...and that He died for us...to accept that truth in our lives...and to confess Him as Lord of our lives and accept Him to rule in our hearts.
Here's the hard part that no one ever seems to want to hear: this is an exclusive deal. This is the only way. Its not much to ask...it really isn't if you think about it...but it is the only way to eternal life after death with Him.
Jesus has often been described as a great man...a wise teacher and philosopher...a powerful historical figure. He was so much more than this. He was the sinless, virgin-born Son of the Living God who was sent to earth to live a perfect life and die so that you could spend eternity with God. That, to me, is so much more than just a great man.
Please...ask me about this
If you knew Rick like I did...if you loved Rick like I did...you might ask yourself why he believed this. You might be thinking a little bit more about this kind of stuff right now. You might have some questions about it all. If any of this is true...if you have any desire to know more about any of this...please...ask me about it. I would love nothing more than to honor Rick by helping you to come to know the same peace and joy that he did when he accepted Jesus into his life.
We will all miss Rick dearly for the rest of our time left here on earth. But...those of us that also know and love Jesus as our Lord and Savior have the peace and joy of knowing that we will get to see Rick again one day. There can be joy in death. I joyfully look forward to the day I get to see Rick again. You can too.