I would like to take a moment to remember two men who have passed away in the past few days. First, this weekend Casey Calvert, guitarist and back-up vocalist for Hawthorne Heights, died in his sleep just days after the band began their Wintour. At this point, it is believed that he may have died of accute asthma. Casey was just 26 and leaves behind his wife.
Also, early this morning, Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins passed away at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Taylor was shot in the upper leg, severing his femoral artery, after an intruder broke into his home early yesterday morning. Taylor was a free saftey and was in his fourth year with the Redskins. Sean was 24 and leaves behind his daughter.
I'm not a Redskins fan, but I did follow Sean Taylor enough to know quite a bit about him. Casey Calvert was a member of one of my favorite bands, and I'm sad to see both of them pass away so young.
When things like this happen, we all hear stories of the great things that the deceased person has done and stories of the character of the person. These stories are rightfully told, and remembering a person through these great memories may, even for a moment, lessen the pain that we feel. Soon though, the grieving of family, friends, and onlookers is almost inevitably followed by questions. "Why did this have to happen, they were such a good person." Or "why would God let this happen when there are so many awful people in this world that go on living?"
Being close to the music community that Casey was a part of, I've seen many of these questions and those like them during the past few days. Reading through all of them brings a couple of things to my attention:
1. I think people may have some sense in them of the sovereignty of God. Even those who don't believe in God or have a vague understanding appear to have some sense during tragedy that God is the one in control and is the one making the decisions.
2. The "goodness" or strong character of an individual is not enough to ensure them long life and put them out of reach of the sovereign will of God. A truth such as this may not be timely when introduced to a family or loved ones of a recently passed individual, but it should be a sobering reminder to the rest of us who may not realize that we may fail to wake up tomorrow.
Deuteronomy 32:29 says:
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand."
I don't believe that much commentary is needed for this one verse. It should be a call to believers and unbelievers alike that we are not entitled to our next breath. Considering our current sinful state, the fact that any of us is able to sit up in our chair and inhale a breath at this very moment as an immese act of sovereign grace from God. We are not deserving of tomorrow, and God would be completely just to take the life of each and every one of us.
So what about that family member who you've been waiting to share the Gospel with because of a fear of rejection? What about that desire for the mission field that you've put off because your career got in the way? What about that person who you have yet to forgive because the time isn't right and you just can't let that wound heal?
James has strong words for each and every one of us in the fourth chapter of his epistle:
"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
I hope that you take the time today to think about the things that you've been pushing aside until a more convenient time. Pray for me as well, as I am just as guilty about forgetting where my priorities lie and assuming that I am captain of my own destiny. I pray that it doesn't take something horrible to remind me that I am not.