5 years and 1 day ago
Do you ever look up "today in history" facts? Maybe radio people use it more than most. It's always interesting to me to see what happened on this very day hundreds, or even thousands of years ago.
Looking through an old website, I discovered that 5 years and 1 day ago, my personal history was impacted by tragic news. Here is the account of that day:
At 4:15 in the afternoon on Father’s Day, I arrived at my parent’s house expecting to celebrate my Daddy. I was met at the door by my sister who was crying. Unable to tell me what was wrong, she pointed me to my mother who informed me that my youngest cousin Abigail had died. Stunned, I listened to the account of the freak accident that took her life.
The “celebration” of Father’s Day was muted and surreal. I spent much of the evening crying. I called my sister-in-law to share the news and to ask for prayer for my family.
About an hour later, the phone rang. My sister-in-law was calling back to share a remarkable story. When I had called her, she was in the car with her husband and children. The kids asked many questions about what had happened, and the report of the tragic accident struck a nerve with my niece Abby. She kept saying “I want to see Abigail, I want to see Abigail.” The two had met months earlier at a family gathering. They both had soft brown, curly hair, and my cousin had explained to my niece that they shared the same name.
Now, my four-year-old niece was insistent that she see this young woman. I would like to close with the account of what transpired in the car that evening, as written in a condolence letter by my brother-in-law Bryan:
We explained that Abigail was in heaven with Jesus. Although Abby seemed pleased with this destination for Abigail, our Abby was intent on seeing your Abigail again. And since she kept hearing us say, “Because Abigail had Jesus in her heart, she went to heaven when she died,” that seemed to fuel a fire in Abby. She needed to be assured that she was going to go to heaven one day too.
After some discussion with my wife, we decided that it was a good time to share the gospel message with her. We went through the basics of why Jesus came and died on the cross, how He rose from the dead, and that we can go to heaven by accepting Him as Lord and Savior. Abby didn’t need much convincing as she knew she was a sinner, and that she loved Jesus and wanted Him to be in her heart. So no more than 30 minutes after the news of Abigail’s death, our little Abby gave her heart to Jesus, and had her name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life—thus answering our four-year prayer for our daughter.
I pray that this story will somehow bring comfort to your hurting soul. God does work all things for the good … even tragedy. Know that the death of your daughter and the second birth of ours will always be intertwined, with the end result being God’s glory. And one day our two daughters will meet, and surely talk of God’s glory and His beautiful ways.
There are no words to undo the reality that a vibrant young woman is no longer among us. Many of you have experienced shocking, untimely death in your family as well. While time may lessen the intensity of the pain, I'm sure it doesn't eradicate it. May you find the comfort needed to bring peace to your heart and a soothing balm to your soul.
Lest I close with a tone of hopelessness, be reminded that this vapor of a life we live is beautiful and powerful. While some have fewer days than others, they are no less impactful. Let us honor the memory of those who have finished their race ahead of us, and strive to cross the finish line having given our all to each and every step that carry us to the finale.