Missing Brian

This past weekend South Carolina lost a husband, father, friend and pastor. While changing a flat tire with a friend, a drunk driver killed both Brian and his friend, Andrew. Now I sit here considering the service tomorrow and looking into the eyes of his precious wife and four children.

It is common for pastors to enter into moments of great pain and grief. It is a challenge to walk in the space between the hope of the resurrection and the broken heart. I have found it to be one of the hardest things in pastoral ministry. As I think on Brian, I think on these things.

Live: I want to live the fullest life possible in Christ. I don’t know if today is my day or if I have decades before I breathe my last. I want each day to count in the way I love and point people to Christ.

Senseless: There are some things in life that don’t make any sense and there are no words to help give meaning to the senselessness. What happened to Brian could have happened to any of us. My wife could be the one grieving today. My kids could be thinking what his kids are thinking. There are times in the Christian life when all we have is trust in the One in whom everything makes sense now and will one day make sense for all.

Drinking: The Bible speaks about the sin of getting drunk. It does not suggest that drinking is a sin. In times like this, I am grateful for the Nazarene position that encourages people to consider refusing to drink alcohol. A man is in jail today because he drank and decided to drive. Three lives were ruined by one decision.

Family: We all need people who love us and rally around us in good times and bad. Painful moments make us aware of our need for each other and call us to love in Christ’s name. As Nieuwhof said in his book, Didn’t See It Coming, “Solitude is a gift from God, isolation is not.”

So instead of thinking about loss, I am going to think about life. I am going to turn my attention from the grave to the resurrection. I am going to make disciples of Jesus. I am going to love my neighbor. I am going to pursue Jesus Christ until the day I actually meet him face to face. Each day will be an adventure. Some days may require an, “Until we meet again.” Until I can breathe no more, I choose to live.