October 25, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Life

Brother-Aaron-236x300To say that life is fickle and can change in a moment would be a huge understatement.

In fact, as I sit at my computer writing this Pastor’s Column, I have just learned that a life-long friend, her husband, daughter, granddaughter, and a friend of the family were murdered. It’s surreal. I don’t remember a time that I didn’t know this family.

My siblings and I were raised next door to her and her siblings. Our childhoods are indelibly intertwined. In fact, my momma babysat her daughter that was killed. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen in small town America, much less to people you know – but it did! Again, it’s surreal.

As my brother and I talked regarding this event he summed it up very well. He said, “This is such a sad ending to such beautiful lives.” He was correct. I have nothing but fond memories and love in my heart for this family.

As I tried to digest this horrific news and make some sense of this wonderful family being senselessly murdered, my mind went back to a kinder, gentler time – a time before America lost her innocence.

As I did I realized that tragic events like this are the culmination of an America that has lost her innocence, and sadly, that innocence was lost in my lifetime. Indeed, we are living in perilous times. I’m afraid that the America my friend and I were raised in – is gone.

I am faced with the reality that evil is very real and very present in our world. If something this horrific can happen to this precious family, in our small town, then certainly it can happen to our families too. We no longer live, work, or play out of the reach of evil.  It is our new reality.

However, I learned a long time ago that no matter how harsh, ugly, or unfair our current reality is, if we will take time to dissect it and learn from it, we will discover nuggets of hidden truth that will forever alter our lives.

As I try to dissect this unfathomable reality, first and foremost, I am reminded that every life counts and every life matters. There are no unimportant people to God. In Psalms 139:14(KJV), the Psalmist says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Ponder this: Every human being is a one-off, custom made, special model.

From eternity past, to eternity present, to eternity future, there will never be another you or me. We’re it!  Nobody has our voiceprint, fingerprint, or DNA. Therefore, we are God’s idea. And if we’re God’s idea – we’re a good idea!

Secondly, I am reminded that everybody adds value to somebody.  Certainly, this precious family and friend were no different.  They added value to me.

Thirdly, I am reminded that life is short. And not only is it short, it is fickle and unpredictable. James 4:13-14(KJV) says, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

Finally, I am reminded that I will not understand or be able to make sense of everything I encounter in life. I don’t have, nor will I ever have all the answers to life’s events. I take solace in two great truths: 1: There is only one God.  2: I’m not Him!

My heart is saddened for this wonderful family. As I pray for them, I pray that their deaths will not have been in vain. I pray their deaths will somehow cause our community to return to the old-time Christian values and morals that America used to stand for. It is our only hope. Life. We don’t always understand it. It’s not always fair. But it is – life.

 

Brother Aaron

 

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