I received word this morning that a friend of mine died of an overdose last night. My pastor sent me the text this morning informing me of the tragedy but I didn’t check it until a few hours later. When I read the news I simply responded with a “What?!!”
Our friend has been in and out of the church for as long as I’ve been in it. He’s battled with addiction and other demons for as long as I’ve known him. He recently popped back up at Christmas time. He had been in jail for a while and the Lord worked a miracle that caused his release months before he would have even been eligible. He was clean and sober, and more importantly, on fire for God. I really thought he was going to get his act together.
The saddest thing about this news is that he left five children behind and their mother is in the same boat of substance abuse that their father was in. Their grandmother has custody of them (well, at least the youngest four, the eldest was from a previous relationship and lives with his mother) and she is not a God-fearing woman. While I’ve never seen it personally, I have it on good authority that she openly mocks the Lord Jesus. I shudder to think of the life that these children will have without their father.
I’ve been reminiscing all day about the good, the bad, and the ugly with my buddy Mike. He was far from perfect but he was usually good for a laugh or two. I’ve also been asking myself about just how far God’s grace extends. As someone who doesn’t affirm any kind of “once saved always saved” type of doctrine, I wonder where he’s gone. I hope and pray that before he breathed his last breath he was able to find forgiveness for his sins. But I worry that he died selfishly fulfilling his own idolatrous desires. It pains me to think that, and it stings as I type it, but I can’t help but wonder. One thing I’m sure of is that he’ll be raised in the last day and stand before God in judgment. May he find mercy on that day.
Wherever Mike is he’ll be missed. My prayers are with his friends and family, especially his children. I pray the Lord use this as a wake up call for their mother and grandmother. Sometimes it takes great tragedy to lead people to Christ. As my old pastor used to say: it’s better to fall on the Rock and be broken than to have to Rock come down on you and be crushed.
Requiescat in pace et in amore.