A Shocking Postscript
Two weeks ago, I shared about the tragic loss of a family member on my wife Cyndi’s side. He was a 17-year-old senior in high school, and his morning ritual was to drive to Starbucks to get his mom a cup of coffee.
Last year, one April morning at 7:30, he was on his way to the coffee shop when he was hit by a drunk driver doing 90 mph. He was killed. Obviously, it was a horrific and senseless tragedy from which the family has not yet recovered… and in some ways, never will. Every day since, for more than a year, mom has gone to the site of the accident to look down upon the place that had brought such pain.
Who wouldn’t be devastated by such a tragedy? But as we looked at the story of Stephen and how he faced the attackers who would ultimately murder him, I shared what I hoped would be an encouragement to all of us in tragic times. Even as the mob came toward him, Stephen lifted his eyes to look upon a vision of Jesus that gave him such peace that his final moments of life were described as, “…he fell asleep.”
The shocking postscript to that story came after the second service was over. A man came forward and introduced himself. He said, “I was the EMT on that call. I was with him in the car when he breathed his last. He passed peacefully.”
What an amazing “coincidence!” Really, I count it as the providence of God. I passed this message on to the mom and hope that it will provide some measure of peace. But it reminded me again of what each of us needs so desperately to remember: even in our times of greatest crisis, tragedy and heartbreak, the Holy Spirit is always there with us, often in ways that we don’t even recognize Him. But He is there.
Many who read these words are in a season of celebration with graduates, vacation approaching, the sunshine reviving us. But for those who are suffering for whatever reason, may Stephen remind us to lift our eyes and look to Jesus, our only source of hope and peace. Shalom be upon you all!
P.S. This Sunday, we turn to one of the most grace-filled chapters in the Bible and read about the most important conversion in the history of the Christian Church. It is a powerful story and I can’t wait to share it with you. Read Acts 9 in preparation.